Barnes taking No.10 switch in his stride - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barnes taking No.10 switch in his stride

By Darren Walton 05/11/2008 06:15:39 PM Comments (0)

Berrick Barnes is not exactly fazed at being thrust into the hot seat for the Wallabies' European tour-opening Test against Italy on Saturday.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has confirmed Barnes would start at five-eighth for Australia for the first time since last year's forgettable Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to England in Marseille.

Deputising for Matt Giteau, who is tipped to be named on the bench on Thursday after pulling up stiff and sore from last Saturday's tough loss to New Zealand in Hong Kong, Barnes hasn't started a Test - in any position - since suffering a shoulder injury against South Africa in Durban back in August.

But after impressing coach Deans with a 25-minute cameo off the bench against the All Blacks, Barnes says directing the Wallabies around the park at Padova's Stadio Euganeo on Saturday will be like any other day at the office.

"It's a good opportunity. It's not as though I haven't played there before," the laidback Queenslander said after Wallabies training.

"It's a new ground, they're going to be tough and physical. But I know what's coming."

Declaring his job as "hardly rocket science", the ball-playing Barnes says his chief roles will be to feed his hungry backline and fire up the pack.

"It's my job to give them the ball and then organise the forwards outside of that," he said.

"So all I'll be trying to do is keep it simple." he said. "The battle's going to be won up front."

While Deans won't officially announce his team until Thursday, he is likely to also hand wingers Lachie Turner and Digby Ioane a start against the Azzurri and spell Drew Mitchell and Peter Hynes, who has played 10 Test for the Wallabies in his rookie season.

Deans is also considering changes in the forwards, with Phil Waugh expected to replace George Smith at openside flanker and Hugh McMeniman tipped to start in the second row in place of Nathan Sharpe after recovering from an ankle injury.

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