Sport Campbell bides time for Wallabies shot

08:50  08 april  2021
08:50  08 april  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Slow and steady wouldn't usually be the recommended approach for a fullback or winger but it's served Jock Campbell well as he waits for his next rugby union opportunity.

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The 25-year-old has taken an old-school path to the professional ranks, proving himself at club level and the second-tier National Rugby Championship to now own a spot in the Queensland Reds' star-studded backline.

Campbell's assuredness and classical skill set have contributed to a six-game unbeaten run this season, showing his versatility with a number of clutch plays as he switched from fullback to the wing in last weekend's defeat of the Melbourne Rebels.

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But unlike many of his teammates, he's yet to be recognised at the next level, overlooked for a 40-man Wallabies training squad that will gather this month.

That's despite the Wallabies still searching for a standout No.15 under new coach Dave Rennie.

Brumbies fullback Tom Banks remains ahead in the queue, the pair having played together with Melbourne Rebels flyer Tom Pincus for University of Queensland before they all went their separate ways.

"Banksy's the No.1 guy and rightfully so, but hopefully I'm close and it's good to have people in your corner," Campbell told AAP.

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"My journey's been a bit slower than others - from club to NRC it's taken a while to get there - so it's just the same again; keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully they give me a shot.

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"I'm definitely understated; that's probably a good word because I pride myself on doing the little things well and when you have players like Jordy (Petaia), Hunter (Paisami), Filipo (Daugunu) it's hard not to give them the ball.

"They do some special things. I know my role in the team and it's not to be one of those flashy type of players. That's their thing and they do it bloody well."

Reds coach Brad Thorn doesn't underrate Campbell, who will again play on the wing against the Brumbies in Saturday's Super Rugby AU clash that has finals hosting rights on the line.

But he said Campbell's waiting game was "how it should be".

"He's come out of club footy and got stronger and stronger as he went," Thorn said.

"He just does the right thing; low error rate, reliable, consistent ... but he's got his X-factor as well. He can hit a hole, get an intercept and he's looked to muscle up a bit this year.

"But it's just Test footy; maybe it's a good thing in Australian rugby where good players are missing out."

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