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
Sidelined for the latter stages of the Super Rugby
tournament following issues with footballer's migraine, Barnes just
squeezed into the Wallabies' 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 told reporters at Sydney Airport on Tuesday.
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's been great to get back into the Test side and more importantly just enjoy my footy.
"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 expected Cooper to come
back better than ever from his surgery.
Winger Lachie Turner said he would undergo scans to ascertain the extent of a fractured thumb suffered against Wales.