Barnes 'deserves' flyhalf role
Sydney - Australia scrumhalf Will Genia has backed Berrick Barnes to start at flyhalf ahead of Quade Cooper in Saturday's opening Test against New Zealand in the inaugural Rugby Championship.
Genia said Cooper was now fully fit after missing Australia's last five Tests while recovering from surgery on a knee injury sustained in the third-place playoff at last year's World Cup.
But the star scrumhalf said Barnes "deserves first crack at the No 10 jersey" in the Sydney match after his outstanding performances in Australia's June Tests against Wales.
Genia said "from a players' point of view it would be obviously great to have (Cooper) there, but Barnes did a great job against Wales and, in all fairness I guess, probably deserves first crack at the No 10 jersey."