Rugby Union:Campese makes case

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The Independent Online
David Campese improved his chances of adding to his 100 international caps when he scored one of Australia's five tries in their 39-26 win over Ulster in Belfast yesterday.

The 34-year-old wing, whose tally of 64 tries is a world Test record, was dropped for last weekend's victory over Scotland after completing his century against Italy last month. But yesterday's try, which may yet prompt a recall against Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, followed reports that he is thinking of retiring at the end of Australia's tour in three weeks' time.

"When this trip is over I'll sit down and think about next year," he said. "It's nothing to do with being dropped, it's just how I feel. This tour has taken a lot more out of me than I thought it would. Mentally, it's been very hard - it's getting too hard."

Two of Australia's tries against Ulster were supplied by Joe Roff, who is widely regarded as Campese's natural successor, and the other touchdowns came via the captain John Eales and a penalty try. Ulster were themselves awarded a penalty try and James Topping also went over.

Arwel Thomas and Neil Jenkins both turned up the heat in their battle with Jonathan Davies for the Wales No 10 shirt against Australia on 30 November. Thomas helped himself to 22 points as Swansea extended their lead at the top of the Welsh First Division to four points with a 67-5 home win over Newbridge. And Jenkins scored half of Pontypridd's points as they moved up to third place with a 50-26 success against Ebbw Vale. Bridgend stayed second thanks to a 29-7 win at Caerphilly, in which wing Dafydd James ran in a brace of tries, but champions Neath went down again, 18-13 at Newport.

British interest in the European Conference ended when Northampton lost by the odd point in 45 at home to Narbonne. A missed first-half penalty from in front of the posts by the discarded England fly-half Paul Grayson proved to be crucial.

Orrell look doomed to relegation after their 49-3 thrashing by Gloucester, their eighth defeat out of eight Courage League One games this season. Alastair Saverimutto scored two of the visitors' six tries and Mark Mapletoft kicked 19 points.

Richmond opened up a three-point lead at the top of League Two with a 70-5 romp at Nottingham which featured 10 tries, including two apiece for Allan Bateman and "Buster" Brown. Newcastle moved back to second place after a 28-12 victory at London Scottish in which full-back Tim Stimpson warmed up for his England debut against Italy on Saturday with a hat-trick of tries. Coventry slipped to third after being beaten 30-23 at Bedford.

South Africa A continued their successful tour with a 49-12 win over Oxford University in which their seven tries were all converted by Marius Goosen.

Steve Atherton is the latest South African international to consider joining an English club following Leicester's reported interest in Francois Pienaar and Joel Stransky. The 31-year-old lock, who has 10 Springbok caps, is contemplating a move to Bath.

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