No role for hero of old

Simon Turnbull wonders if it is now full-time for free spirit David Campese

Murrayfield yesterday was last of the summer wine country for David Campese. Sat on the sidelines (high in the west stand in the first half, cross-legged in front of the Australian bench in the second), Campo might have been Compo, or Clegg, or any other of the retiring veterans from the TV. There may yet be a drop or two of goose-stepping vintage left in those 34-year-old legs, but we shall have to wait to find out if the sell-by date is finally nigh for rugby's intoxicating free spirit.

Joe Roff assumed the golden mantle of Australia's No. 11 shirt yesterday. He was a seven-year-old schoolboy when Campese burst on to the international stage as a try-scoring teenage debutant opposite Stu Wilson in Christchurch. He was still only nine when Campo galloped half the length of Murrayfield's west stand touchline to apply the finishing touch-down to the glorious Wallaby Grand Slam of 1984.

The wizard of the Aussie left wing has always maintained that Australian rugby has not quite scaled such an inspirational peak since that 37-12 beating of Jim Aitken's Five Nations Grand Slammers, success in the 1991 World Cup notwithstanding. The Wallabies in 1996 are still recovering from the order of the boot administered by Rob Andrew MBE at Newlands last year; that much was clear when they were put in their place, firmly behind New Zealand and South Africa, in the summer Tri-Nations series. Thus sentiment, never a prime Australian consideration, is the least of Greg Smith's concerns on this rebuilding tour of the British Isles.

Campese may boast a century of international appearances and the world try-scoring record, but he was handed the No. 16 shirt yesterday because, as Smith put it, "he hasn't been playing as well as Roff". You had to accept the word of the Wallaby coach. Roff, right wrist bandaged a la Campese, was a virtual spectator himself. Not once did the ball find its way into his hands in the Scottish half.

That lamentable fact said as much as anything about the anodyne nature of Australia's victory. It was as clinical as the snatch and despatch jobs Burke and Hare once performed in the Scottish capital. The Scots committed so many unforced errors that Matthew Burke merely had to swing his right boot to leave Scotland picking over the corpse of another spirited failure against Southern Hemisphere heavyweights. The New South Wales full-back could afford the luxury of two missed penalties as the 19 points he kicked proved the difference between the teams.

Australia only cut loose once, when David Knox flung the ball out for Daniel Herbert to score. Roff's services were not required in that 68th- minute passage. Two unemployed Wallaby left-wings was a sorry sight at Murrayfield yesterday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers