Super Rugby
Berrick Barnes 'a chance to play'
March 18, 2013
The Waratahs' Berrick Barnes sustained a thumb injury against the Cheetahs, on his return from a knee injury, New South Wales Waratahs v Cheetahs, Super Rugby, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, March 15, 2013
Berrick Barnes left the field early during the match against the Cheetahs © Getty Images

Berrick Barnes may start for New South Wales Waratahs against the Blues on Sunday despite having dislocated his right thumb on Friday.

Barnes' first appearance of the 2013, in the Waratahs' 27-26 loss to the Cheetahs on Friday night at Allianz Stadium, was cut short when he left the field with what was reported originally to be a fractured right wrist.

But Waratahs coach Michael Cheika holds hope the 50-Test inside centre can back up against the Blues after a medical check on Monday.

"[The dislocation] was quite high up in the thumb," Cheika said. "It was in a weird place and it took a while to get back in but, once it was in, it was quite favourable. He's feeling OK and he'll get it checked again on Monday. He's a chance to play this week so we'll see what the doctor says."

Cheika has tough choices to make if he is to solve his backline woes if Barnes is sidelined. Israel Folau, Lachlan Turner and Peter Betham are desperate for opportunities out wide, and Barnes' passing game was seen as a key after he replaced the no-frills Tom Carter. Cheika could reinstate Carter, team hard-running Wallabies Rob Horne and Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres, or make utility Ben Volavola a second ball player at No.12 outside Bernard Foley.

The Waratahs suffered another depressing loss, against the Cheetahs (video available only in Australia)

Betham's energetic display after replacing Drew Mitchell put further heat on the axed flyer, but Cheika said the Wallabies winger would be available to play against the Blues after watching the Cheetahs match in the coaching box.

Wallabies prop Benn Robinson, meanwhile, has overcome a bizarre incident at half-time of the Cheetahs game. Robinson returned to the field for the second half but was physically ill before the restart and was replaced with concussion.

Cheika said Robinson may have suffered an inner-ear problem.

"It was pretty crazy," Cheika said. "I thought he must have got king-hit in the tunnel."


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