Australia v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Melbourne, July 31
Barnes prepares to fill in for Cooper
July 26, 2010
Berrick Barnes is ready to step into the fray against the All Blacks on Saturday © Getty Images
With an appeal pending over Quade Cooper's two-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on Morne Steyn, Berrick Barnes is already preparing to step into the fray against New Zealand on Saturday.
Australia opened their Tri-Nations campaign with a comprehensive victory against South Africa on Saturday to condemn the Springboks to their third straight defeats in the 2010 competition.
With Cooper playing another starring role, the Wallabies next assignment will be even tougher against New Zealand without their star playmaker if the Australian Rugby Union's appeal proves unsuccessful as expected.
Barnes is expected to come in at number twelve with Matt Giteau reverting to ten as a low-risk option that could work in Australia's favour against the All Blacks.
"I don't think there's any more pressure. You're just brought in to do a job," said Barnes. "I won't play the same sort of style as Quade and do the same sort of things but I'll bring what I can to the table and I'll have a lot of help outside me in the form of Gits (Giteau). Gits and I have played together enough to know each other's skill sets."
Australia has lost seven-matches on the bounce against the All Blacks, a statistic barnes is keen to put right on Saturday.
"You can dream up big words, at the end of the day we have to finish it off," he added. "The All Blacks are relentless, they don't stop for the 80, that's something we've been guilty of." All Blacks Assistant Coach Wayne Smith added that the absence of Australia's flair player may not be a bad thing for Australia.
"You seldom prepare for one player," Smith told NZPA. "Barnes is a very capable player, we've had a bit to do with him the last couple of years."
"As defence coach I've found it (Australia) quite a difficult team to prepare for because they've got a lot of strategies, a lot of different plays, they switch play quickly and they offload well. They give a lot of inside balls - that's a team thing rather than a Quade Cooper thing."