Campo on the way for World Sevens

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 1997, 12:00am

The New South Wales Rugby Union has released David Campese for next month's World Cup Sevens.

Campese, who retired from the international Test scene in December, has been pencilled in by Australia's sevens coach Jeff Miller to appear in the March 21-23 event at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Australian newspapers said this week that the NSW Rugby Union had agreed to release Campese and barnstorming backrower Michael Brial for the World Cup Sevens.

Both men are out of the Waratahs' first Super 12 Series away game on March 22, against Transvaal in Johannesburg.

According to Miller, Campese and Brial had been released by New South Wales on the condition that the other two Australian unions taking part in the Super 12, Queensland and ACT, also release their top players.

'I'm looking at guys like Queensland's Ryan Constable, Ben Tune or Damian Smith, and ACT's Joe Roff,' said Miller.

'At the moment, everything is a bit unclear as we still don't know who will be available. We are trying to work out a compromise,' A bid by Miller to net Wallaby full-back Matt Burke and scrum-half George Gregan has met with failure.

'If I were able to get all these players for the World Sevens, Australia would be a very competitive side,' said Miller.

Unlike New Zealand, none of the top contracted players in Australia are available for selection to the World Sevens, with priority being given to the Super 12.

Soon after Australia's tour of the United Kingdom ended last December, Campese stepped down from the Test arena. However, the world record try-scorer (64 Test tries) said he would like to play for one last time in Hong Kong - where he first appeared in 1983.

'I'd like to play in Hong Kong if the chance came along. I think I could add a bit of experience to the team,' Campese said in December.

Meanwhile, Scotland's build-up to the World Sevens suffered a big blow when captain Scott Hastings sustained a leg injury during a training session at Murrayfield on Wednesday and was ruled out of the squad.

Hastings, Scotland's most capped player (65), ruptured the medial ligament in his knee which will keep him out of rugby for a minimum of six to eight weeks.

Hastings captained his country at the World Cup qualifying tournament in Dubai.

Former Fijian flyer Luke Erenavalu has found favour with the country's selectors, being included in a 14-strong preliminary squad currently in training for the World Cup Sevens.

Fiji, who have retained only five members of the squad who played at last year's Hong Kong Sevens, will once again rely on sevens wizard Waisale Serevi and Manasa Bari.

Erenevalu last appeared at the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens playing for New Zealand. The speedy winger was picked to play for Fiji at the inaugural World Cup Sevens in Murrayfield in 1993, but was replaced at the last minute by Paula Bale.

The Hong Kong First Division will resume after a three-week break today with the feature game being between Valley Red and Aberdeen at the Aberdeen Stadium at 3.45 pm.