New dad Barnes stars for Oz
Berrick Barnes (Gallo Images)
Melbourne - Flyhalf Berrick Barnes capped an emotional day dashing back from the birth of his first child to steer the Wallabies to a series-clinching victory over Wales in Melbourne on Saturday.
Barnes arrived at the ground just over an hour before kick-off after flying back to Sydney for the birth of his first child, a boy named Archie, and then delivered a man-of-the-match performance in the 25-23 win over the Six Nations champions.
Barnes, 24, had rushed home late on Friday to be with his wife as she gave birth.
In Melbourne he set up with Wallabies' only try just before half-time when he dummied his way into the clear and sent centre Rob Horne racing away to score.
Barnes added 17 points through five penalties from six attempts and a conversion before being replaced by Mike Harris with seven minutes remaining.
Harris went on to land the winning penalty kick after the final siren to clinch victory for the Wallabies.
Barnes said the baby arrived almost six weeks early but his wife and son were both healthy.
"It's exciting and I'm very proud," he said. "It's something that doesn't happen very often in your life. It's something I'll remember.
"Just checking that they were both well gave me the peace of mind to come and play for my country."
He added: "It's emotionally draining. I reckon I was more tired this week than after playing two games last week, but the adrenaline gets you up. I love playing for my country, it's a great honour."
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he would have given Barnes every chance to play. "It was always going to be Berrick's call but we had other plans in place if anything happened and he couldn't make it in time," he said.