Campo shows that old magic

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 March, 1997, 12:00am

DAVID Campese, making what he says is his final appearance in an Australian jersey, showed that although some of the speed is gone, the deceptive shimmy can still out-fox opposing defences as the Aussies entered the Melrose Cup quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Campese played a significant role in helping Australia defeat Scotland 31-19 in their final Pool H match at the Hong Kong Stadium after the Aussies had earlier laboured to a 26-7 victory over Portugal.

After coming on as a substitute against the Portuguese, Campo started the Scotland match, although he came off the field towards the end.

'It's frustrating sitting on the bench,' said Campese. 'I think it's better to start and then go off rather than come on as a substitute.

'We still have to improve. Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa and England are all good teams, so it's going to be tough.' Indeed, the Australians face an awesome task in the quarter-finals against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, winners of the past three Hong Kong Sevens titles.

After Friday's first round of preliminary matches, Campese said the younger players in the squad had to contribute more to the Aussie cause.

And it seemed that they woke up to that fact against Scotland.

Apart from a late lapse of concentration from the Aussies, it was mostly green and gold traffic after John Moss burst through for the first Australian try after one minute.

Captain Ryan Constable increased Australia's lead after two minutes, benefitting from a wide move started by Campese.

Cameron Mather reduced the deficit for Scotland on the stroke of half-time after a line-out on the five-metre line.

Soon after the break, another Campese initiative resulted in a try for Stephen Larkham and Constable scored Australia's final points with about two minutes remaining.

Scotland put some respectability into the score with late tries from Scott Nichol and James Craig.

While Australia cruised into the quarter-finals, the surprise package proved to be South Korea, who gained their place in the Melrose Cup thanks to a narrow points-margin advantage over Pool G favourites Spain.

The Koreans drew 12-12 with Spain in their first match and then defeated Zimbabwe 21-10.

Spain realised they would have had to better the Koreans' score but were foiled by a Zimbabwe try in the dying seconds.

Spain were leading the Africans 19-5, good enough to enter the main competition because they would have had a better tries-against count than the Koreans.

But it was not to be as Zimbabwe, who now play in the Bowl, scored just before the final whistle. Korea, however, are not expected to progress any further as they play the number one ranked team after two days and title favourites, Fiji, in the quarter-finals.