Wallabies: Berrick Barnes convinced he's almost back to his best

2011-12-07 00:00

SYDNEY — Resurgent Wallabies back Berrick Barnes is convinced he is almost back to his best after producing two strong performances at the end of a tough year.

Sidelined for the latter stages of the Super Rugby tournament following issues with footballer’s migraine, Barnes just squeezed into the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup squad.

He then formed an exciting new midfield combination with James O’Connor on Australia’s two-match tour of Britain, playing primarily at inside centre with the latter calling the shots from flyhalf.

With first-choice playmaker Quade Cooper sidelined by a serious knee injury, Barnes relished the chance to start the tour matches against the Barbarians and Wales.

“I feel like I’m getting back to my best sort of footy in the last couple of games, which has been good, and that comes with consistent footy and it comes with getting opportunities starting games as well,” Barnes said yesterday.

A strong contender to play flyhalf for the Waratahs next year, Barnes admitted Wallabies coach Robbie Deans clearly preferred to use him at inside centre.

“I’ve enjoyed playing it and at the end of the day I’ll take a Test start wherever I can get it and especially after the year I’ve had,” Barnes said.

“It was a pretty big call to take me on that World Cup squad, so I appreciate that, but there’s been a lot of hard work and stuff behind closed doors.”

Barnes was impressed with the way O’Connor handled the switch to a major playmaking role.

“He did extremely well in his first outing there at Test level,” Barnes said.

While he was one of the success stories of the tour, Barnes wasn’t taking anything for granted and said he expects Cooper to come back better than ever from his surgery.

Winger Lachie Turner said he will undergo scans to ascertain the extent of a fractured thumb suffered against Wales.

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