Barnes solves problem, creates headache - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barnes solves problem, creates headache

David Beniuk 21/11/2010 07:21:31 PM Comments (0)

Berrick Barnes appears to have solved a problem for the Wallabies, but he might have created one for former backline lynchpin Matt Giteau.

Chosen to start at inside centre ahead of Giteau, Barnes booted eight goals from nine attempts at Florence's Stadio Artemio Franchi as Australia downed Italy 32-14.

It was by far the best kicking performance of the tour, a tour on which former playmaker Giteau relinquished the kicking duties before the second of five Tests.

James O'Connor assumed the responsibility but missed the Italy Test when he rushed home for a funeral.

O'Connor returns for Saturday night's match against France and coach Robbie Deans has a big call to make on who will be his first-choice kicker.

At one point in the second half, a confident Barnes lined up a 55m shot at goal, although Deans joked the small dimensions of the field meant it was probably more like 45m.

"I didn't try to smash it so it just didn't get the legs," the laconic Barnes said. That's the way it goes I suppose.

"I was happy with the kicking and glad the boots were on but got lucky on a couple of early ones that snuck over for me."

Giteau didn't get a run from the bench against Italy and it would appear he's going to struggle to dislodge former vice-captain Barnes.

"We just maintained the combination that was working for us and felt no need to adjust," Deans explained.

The coach was also happy with the 24-year-old's leadership when the Wallabies changed their game-plan in the second half to concentrate on field position.

"He was a big part of the shape of the game in the second half," Deans said.

"We adjusted our approach, we stopped trying to play so much in our own half, and he was a big part of the leadership to that end."

It has been a good tour for Barnes, who cruelly missed the majority of the last two trips to Europe with injury.

He has captained the midweek side and from there played his way back into the Test starting line-up.

The former Brisbane Bronco was not the only recalled Wallaby to shine.

Halfback Luke Burgess had one of his best games for Australia as Will Genia sat on the bench after taking a knock to the ribs in the England Test.

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