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Barnes seizes his chance to make case

Date

Greg Growden

On the up ... Berrick Barnes has regained his playing mojo.

On the up ... Berrick Barnes has regained his playing mojo. Photo: AFP

A YEAR ago, Berrick Barnes was pondering whether he had a future in the game. Several serious bouts of concussion had put his career on hold. Many expected him to retire.

Even just over a month ago, there were doubts whether Barnes would regain Wallabies status. Playing in an under-performing province does not help, but Barnes was fourth in the No.10 rankings, behind James O'Connor, Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale. If he was to make the squad, it would probably be as a dogsbody.

In the end, it all revolves around taking your opportunities. O'Connor, Cooper and Beale were suddenly no longer available. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans had to call on Barnes.

Wallabies vs Wales. Allianz Stadium. Action from the game. Click for more photos

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It wasn't instant harmony, as Barnes was one of the central figures in the Wallabies' diabolical loss to Scotland in Newcastle. But, three weeks on, it is all sunshine and light after enjoying two man-of-the-match awards in a row, winning a Test match with his boot on Saturday and, in the middle of it all, a madcap Melbourne-Sydney return trip for the birth of his first child, Archie.

What has been most rousing about this Test interlude is the rebirth, of sorts, of Barnes. After the Waratahs lost their sixth match in a row, Barnes was dejected and despairing, way down on confidence. Now he is buoyant, laughing, alive, delighted to see everyone again. There was plenty of boot slapping and high fives after Saturday's win at a ground where, with the Waratahs, he has experienced so much pain this season.

As for his coach, there have been many delights watching a player regain his Test footing.

''Berrick had some significant challenges last year, physical ones which, potentially, was threatening his career,'' Deans said. ''He's back now and, credit to the whole group because we structure our game to play to the strength of our people, and benefited from that, as the team have from his contribution.''

Still, the big question is whether Barnes will stay as Test five-eighth when the international season resumes at the end of August. The cavalry is coming. Beale is back, and O'Connor and Cooper will play in the final rounds of the Super Rugby season. But at least Deans provided some encouraging signs for Barnes yesterday. There is weight in being the incumbent.

''Berrick has the advantage of what he has done this month,'' Deans said. ''But, hopefully, we will be confronted with choice because they [No.10 candidates] are all different, and bring different things. For Berrick to come out of this month with the confidence he has got is great. There is still quite a bit of footy to be played between now and then. And we will be watching it all.''

The Waratahs' season is effectively over but, for Barnes, how he performs against the Brumbies and Reds in their last two games will determine if the crusade continues.

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Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
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