Italy manager Reno Santaguida suggested that new Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is behind the withdrawal, having previously received an email from Canberra football manager John Bonasera clearing Campese to play.
Santaguida told press Down Under: “Campo was officially in, 100 per cent. He had signed the World Cup documentation. I feel for Campo. He got pressured by a new coach. He had to choose between club and country.
“We’re not blaming him because he’s been put in a difficult situation but it’s disappointing because a lot of our plans, promotions and sponsorship centred around Terry.”
Campese’s withdrawal has been put down to injury. The nephew of former Australia rugby union star David has had four operations on his left knee in the past, including two knee reconstructions.