Barnes won't chicken out of centre role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barnes won't chicken out of centre role

By Adrian Warren 05/06/2008 06:14:07 PM Comments (0)

Incumbent Wallabies five-eighth Berrick Barnes has emerged from his headless chook phase as an inside centre to declare he's comfortable with both playmaking positions going into this season's rugby Test campaign.

Queensland youngster Barnes was thrust into the international spotlight at last year's World Cup when longstanding Wallabies pivot Stephen Larkham was injured and ruled out of the tournament.

The Reds flyhalf scored two tries off the bench against Japan, followed by starts against Wales, Fiji and England.

In the three games he started, Barnes had Matt Giteau beside him at inside centre, but the two have transposed positions through most of this year's Super tournament with Giteau lining up at pivot for the Force and Barnes at inside centre for the Reds.

New Wallabies coach Robbie Deans utilised ball players at both five-eighth and inside centre during his hugely successful tenure with the Crusaders and could look to Barnes and Giteau to fulfil the dual playmaker roles in the coming inbound Tests.

Barnes, 22, said prior to this season he had little senior experience of inside centre, playing just a couple of games there for Queensland last year.

He said he struggled to find his feet at inside centre early in the season when he would jump in front of five-eighth Quade Cooper, but felt he had started to come to grips with the No.12 position towards the end of the Super campaign.

"The first few games at the Reds, I was running around like a chook with a head cut off," Barnes told AAP.

"I didn't know what I was doing and now I've come to terms with when to come in and when not to and just let the No.10 do his job."

A diplomatic Barnes said he had no preferred position and was just happy to play for the Wallabies.

Barnes and Giteau traded roles at training on Thursday and the young Queenslander clearly relished the opportunity to work alongside his illustrious team-mate.

"I love working with Gits, I tell you, he's the best in the game in Australia and I love to be inside or outside him, it doesn't really matter.

"I suppose with the way Robbie is trying to play you are looking at two ball players to get you around the field.

"We struck a bit of a combination up and we can continue that, that would be great."

Injured hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was hoping the break in his right hand suffered in last weekend's Super 14 final would heal in time for him to play the third Test of the year against France on July 5 in Brisbane.

The Waratahs frontrower said he had been given more than ample time to rest the hand after initially injuring it in the final round game against Queensland.

"I think it was more the case of re-doing it in the Super 14 final," Polota-Nau said.

"I was probably just going through a tackle and pulled up second best.

"I tried to battle through it. Super 14 finals don't come around very often."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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