O'Connor back as goalkicker - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Connor back as goalkicker

David Beniuk 26/11/2010 08:59:04 AM Comments (0)

Winger James O'Connor will pick up the goalkicking duties for the Wallabies in this weekend's Test against France.

O'Connor missed the win over Italy when he rushed home to attend a funeral and, in his absence, centre Berrick Barnes booted eight from nine, the best kicking performance of Australia's tour.

Barnes, though, will hand the duties back to O'Connor who became Australia's fulltime kicker in the Test against Wales three weeks ago.

The 20-year-old managed just three from seven in his last outing, the loss to England at Twickenham.

He took on the responsibility when Matt Giteau stepped down after booting one from four against the All Blacks in Hong Kong.

Barnes has been restricted in his kicking practice this week by a minor hip pointer injury which won't stop him taking to the Stade de France on Saturday night (0645 Sunday AEDT).

"I think it's just general wear and tear, I haven't gone this long in a year before," Barnes said.

Coach Robbie Deans said, regardless, O'Connor remained Australia's first-choice kicker.

"Berrick kicked superbly last week obviously, which is good for him and good for us to have another bloke who succeeded in game," Deans said.

"James is essentially our preferred goalkicker, he's our best goalkicker."

Deans said O'Connor would also take Australia's long-range shots, with fullback Kurtley Beale a back-up option only.

"James is perfectly capable of kicking them from a distance as well if he concentrates on process," Deans said.

The Wallabies will have their final training run in the French capital on Friday morning.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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