British & Irish Lions
Campese hits out at Farrell selection
ESPN Staff
May 8, 2013
England's Owen Farrell fires the ball out in training, Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey, England, March 12, 2013
Owen Farrell has come under-fire from David Campese © Getty Images

Ex-Australia winger David Campese has questioned the British & Irish Lions' selection of Owen Farrell and has claimed the England No.10 "doesn't cope under pressure".

Farrell will compete with Leinster's Jonathan Sexton for the Lions' fly-half shirt but Campese, who played against the Lions in 1989, claims the young Saracens half-back will wilt under the pressure of facing the Wallabies in Australia.

And Campese has also hit out at Wilkinson saying talk of his inclusion in the Lions' squad illustrates the lack of talent at Warren Gatland's disposal. "Jonny's 33 - all he does is kick penalties and drop goals. You're not going to score tries with him there. It just shows how bad the No 10s are in Europe that he was being talked about," said Campese to the Express. "They've picked Farrell but he doesn't cope under pressure, as we saw against Wales, and his skill-set isn't great. You need someone smart in that position.

"He is a rugby league guy - and we have too much rugby league influence in our game. It is a reflection of the way rugby is going. The coaches are looking for perfect rugby robots who they can programme exactly to do what they want them to do. The skill factor is going out of the game - and that is sad.

"We know it is going to be a very structured series because they will be two very structured teams. Some of the games might be close because both coaches are under pressure. But it is going to be a penalty-fest."

And Campese, who is no stranger to making controversial statements after criticising Australia boss Robbie Deans last year, is hopeful Reds coach Ewen McKenzie will be at the helm of the Wallabies after the series against the Lions.

"If they lose the series, hopefully he [Deans] will go and we can then have Ewan McKenzie coaching us," added Campese. "When Quade Cooper spoke about the environment being toxic last year he got in trouble, but I heard the same from someone else in the squad. There is a problem there.

"We have gone backwards in our back-line skills. It's not the same Australian team as when we were playing. Robbie Deans came out last year and said, 'You don't need to score tries to have exciting rugby'. It must be the Kiwi mentality."

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