The Rugby Championship
Campese slams "in trouble" Wallabies
ESPN Staff
August 11, 2012
Wallabies skipper David Pocock shakes hands with Scotland lock Richie Gray, Australia v Scotland, Scotland tour, Hunter Stadium, Newcastle, Australia, June 5, 2012
Australia suffered a shock defeat to Scotland in June © PA Photos

Australia legend David Campese has criticised the current Wallaby squad - saying they are "in trouble" ahead of the inaugural Rugby Championship competition.

The Wallabies suffered a shock defeat to Scotland in June before hitting back with a 3-0 series whitewash over Wales later in the summer. However, Wales pushed the Wallabies very close and could have - perhaps should have - converted one or more of those defeats into victories.

Australia begin their Rugby Championship campaign against World Champions New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday and Campese says the team are underperforming on the pitch and failing to behave off it.

Campese told the Scotsman: "Scotland fully deserved their win in June and all the complaints in Australia about the bad weather and that crap … it was the same for both sides. But the Australia squad is in trouble right now.

"There have been stories of players out in nightclubs before a Test, guys getting beaten up by bouncers. This generation … they think they are better than they are."

The former Wallaby winger drew comparisons with Australia's Olympic squad who have struggled in London, falling well short of their usual gold rush in the Games.

"I'm not saying it's the same in the Olympics squad, but it's not right there either. It has been tough watching but the signs have been there for a while. We've had coaches leaving to go to other countries, including England; Ian Thorpe trying to make comebacks and failing; swimmers suffering injuries doing things they shouldn't be doing when training for an Olympics; and the spirit has been really questioned. The sort of things that Thorpe doesn't talk about on the TV.

"People are not happy with Australia's performance, that's for sure, but it all comes back to investment. There was great investment in sport in Australia over the 20 years or so leading up to Sydney, but since then we have seen it cut back and cut back and cut back and this is what you get.

"We have overpaid rugby players who believe they have made it, and we have an athletics and Olympics system that is not invested in anymore to the extent of others at the top of the medal table, and coaches going elsewhere.

"I applaud what we have seen from the Great Britain team and the achievements of guys like Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins, and it has been great to watch, but there is one main reason for it - money.

"Britain, China and others have done what Australia did before Sydney and invested heavily in sport leading up to the Olympics. I've been coaching in China for the past few years and they are investing heavily. The young Chinese swimmer breaking records is being coached by an Australian reportedly earning £250,000, but that's the price of success."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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