Campo slams boring England

Former Wallaby David Campese has slammed England ahead of this weekend's Cook Cup clash with Australia in Melbourne.

The international try-scoring world record holder, who is never short of a few words, believes England's style of play is in danger of driving fans away in World Cup year.

"It's clear that English rugby hasn't moved on a jot over the past 10 years," he told BBC Sport.

"The game against New Zealand showed all the strengths and all the weakness of the English game.

"How close did they get to scoring a try? Not once did they look likely to. They are completely reliant on the boot of Jonny Wilkinson - even when they get into the opposition 22."

Campese also laughed off England's World Cup favourites tag. "There's a lot of rugby to be played before the World Cup," Campese said. "The southern hemisphere season hasn't even started and we've got the Tri-Nations around the corner.

"You have to remember that Saturday's match in Wellington was the first time those All Blacks had played together - and they were playing the Six Nations champions.

"What do you think will happen should the All Blacks meet England in the World Cup, after England have had a lay-off? Exactly the opposite, only the Kiwis will cross the line and try to create some excitement.

"Rugby needs to entice people in. Here in Australia it has to compete with league and Aussie Rules, and the way England play just sends people away in droves."

England are targeting their fourth consecutive win over the Wallabies this weekend and more importantly their first on Australian soil.

England skipper Martin Johnson last night suggested the southern hemishphere slurs were disrespectful to the success of a side which stands unbeaten in 12 matches, including two wins over the All Blacks and one over Australia in London last November.

"We get a bit of needle (down under)," he told the Daily Telegraph. "On Sunday there was a begrudging respect from the New Zealand press and a bit of criticism.

"We must watch more of their rugby than they watch of ours. It doesn't particularly bother us. But I think they have a few perceived ideas about what our rugby is about and what our players are about that are certainly wrong.

"They still think we're a forward dominated 10-man rugby team, which is not the case. What can you do?"

"Those two games ... we don't normally play like that," said Johnson. "We hardly played at all against New Zealand in some areas.

"But you've got to deal with what you face on the day, conditions wise and opposition wise.

"Here it's going to be different. We're indoors. It will be hard and fast and dry with no wind."

Johnson said the visitors will attempt to shift the ball.

"Of course we will, if it's there," he said. "We moved the ball from our posts against New Zealand when we thought it was on. We've got good wingers, we've got a good backline. We want to get some decent ball for them to use."