Barnes gutted to miss England revenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barnes gutted to miss England revenge

By Darren Walton 11/11/2008 03:05:48 PM Comments (0)

Missing the chance to exact revenge on England hurts Wallabies star Berrick Barnes as much as the pain of his European tour-ending knee injury.

For the second time this year, Barnes is heading home early from a Wallabies tour, having been forced out by a shoulder injury during the two-Test visit to South Africa in the Tri Nations series.

After bouncing back with an eye-catching cameo in Australia's Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand in Hong Kong 10 days ago, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans handed Barnes the opportunity to reacquaint himself with the five-eighth role against Italy on Saturday.

The skilful playmaker cut holes in the Azzurri defence early before hurting his knee and limping off in the 12th minute.

"I went up for a high ball and that's about it. I came down and I felt like I was running in a pothole," Barnes said on Tuesday.

"So I don't really know how it happened. It wasn't when I was landing. It was sort of innocuous."

It was a gut-wrenching blow for the 22-year-old, who had his heart and mind set on Saturday's eagerly-awaited rematch with England at Twickenham, 12 months on from the Wallabies' shock World Cup quarter-final loss to the old enemy in Marseille.

"Robbie had given me the opportunity to start at 10 there. To get back into that position and have a bit of fun there, I was enjoying it," Barnes said.

"I hadn't played there since probably England and it was good and I would have dearly loved the opportunity to have been involved this weekend for sure.

"Having played that game at the end of last year, it was something I had set my sights on.

"Sitting in the stand and watching the (World Cup) semi-final and watching Jonny (Wilkinson) kicking them into the final was one of the things I wanted to be back (to try to atone) for.

"So to miss this game is pretty disappointing."

Barnes was still awaiting the results of an MRI scan but hopeful his injury wouldn't require surgery.

"The doc reckons it's the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which usually means four to six weeks off," he said.

"If that's all it is, then that's positive, I suppose."

Coach Deans said it was a shame the tour had ended prematurely for a such a vital - and popular - player as Barnes.

"He has been integral to our backline operation and he obviously will be again," Deans said.

"He'll be missed because he's such a versatile player. And he's just a good bloke in the mix. He's got a great work ethic. He's good on and off the field with preparation and playing.

"But he's clearly going to be back. We just won't have the benefit of having him around the next few weeks."

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