Spring Tour tougher than RWC: Barnes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Spring Tour tougher than RWC: Barnes

By Samantha Broun 14/10/2008 08:50:41 PM Comments (0)

Centre Berrick Barnes rates Australia's upcoming Spring Tour as a tougher assignment than a rugby World Cup and believes it's the Wallabies' big chance to win back respect on foreign soil.

The Wallabies kickoff their tour against the All Blacks in Hong Kong next month, desperate to square the four-Test Bledisloe ledger, after losing by four points in Brisbane.

From Hong Kong, the Wallabies head to Europe to face Italy, England, France, Wales and the Barbarians on successive Saturdays.

Barnes, who missed the final two Tri Nations Tests with a shoulder injury, said a win against the All Blacks on November 1 could go a long way to setting the tone for the tour.

"We've obviously got a big point to prove, we've got to wait another year to have the chance to get back the Bledisloe," said Barnes, who resumed heavy contact training on Tuesday after a shoulder injury had kept him out of the last two Tri Nations clashes.

"It's an exciting challenge. The only tour I've even been on is the World Cup (in France) so this is probably going to be tougher than that in some respects, you don't get any easy games on this trip.

"We're playing six Test matches in a row and I think obviously a lot of it will depend on how well we start this tour."

Barnes admits that while history isn't on the Wallabies' side he believes the squad's doing every thing under coach Robbie Deans to get the results which have alluded Australian teams going to Europe in the past.

"This is a chance for us to win back some respect and that's probably the biggest thing and the most important factor for us," he said.

"This is the best preparation we've had. We've just done the hardest training block that I've ever been involved in.

"It's certainly been a tough three weeks and I know we're all going to be the better for it. We've just got to bring what we've got to the ground and hopefully that's enough for us."

Fellow centre Ryan Cross, who like Barnes is embarking on his first European tour, agreed.

"Obviously we're good at home against the European teams but going over there we haven't gone so well where they're comfortable," Cross said.

"The past four weeks (in camp) have been good, fitness levels are good and everyone's fresh and ready to go, so I think there's no excuses this time."

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