'Campo' part of a busy, busy week

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 March, 2010, 12:00am

In his playing days David Campese covered a lot of ground, and he shows no signs of slowing down in his retirement.

The Australian legend will be one of the busiest people, working behind the scenes this week and then at the weekend as skills coach for Tonga.

'Last year, when I was here for the Hong Hong Sevens, I figured it would be great to do some coaching during the tournament,' Campese said.

'When rugby is at its highest profile somewhere we, as the rugby community, have to maximise that opportunity to grow our sport. I'm looking forward to interacting with the kids this week.

'I'm working with the Tongan team as part of their preparations for the Commonwealth Games later this year, as well as coaching at Sydney University. This week, the Tongan team and I will work with the Rwandan team.'

'Campo' will give the Rwandans some tips at Hong Kong Football Club today before moving on to King's Park tomorrow where he will join Welsh greats Gareth Edwards and Jonathan Davies and former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick in a series of coaching clinics at the InProjects Kowloon RugbyFest.

More than 60 children from Kowloon mini rugby, the Australian International School and King George V School will learn the finer points of the game. The four have a session at Sandy Bay tomorrow afternoon.

'I'm looking forward to spending some time with all the kids,' says Fitzpatrick. 'This is the start of a wider 'Spirit of Rugby' project we are going to roll out, and with two of the next three World Cups (15s) in Asia-Pacific we have a great opportunity to grow the game.'

At 62, Edwards still enjoys time on the pitch. 'Hong Kong has always had good school and club programmes which is a great credit, not to mention vitally important for the continual growth of rugby. Sean, Jonathan and David are as excited as I am that we have this wonderful opportunity to do the sessions, and spend some time with players of the future,' he said.

John Kirwan, head coach of Japan, former Scotland coach Frank Hadden and former Scottish star Gavin Hastings will also be coaching the Sai Kung Stingrays and LA Girls tomorrow at Happy Valley.

Mini and colts rugby continues to boom in Hong Kong with more than 5,000 playing, says HKRFU director of youth Mike Haynes.

'Much of the Hong Kong sevens team now comprises players who came through the youth pathway,' he said. 'Numbers have now reached 3,350 in mini rugby and 1,400 in the colts.'