Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Beware Bomber Barnes; England bewareStorming: Aussie Fly-Half Berrick Barnes Tries to Avoid Fiji Forward Isoa Domolailai and Will Be out to Get the Better of Jonny Wilkinson

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Beware Bomber Barnes; England bewareStorming: Aussie Fly-Half Berrick Barnes Tries to Avoid Fiji Forward Isoa Domolailai and Will Be out to Get the Better of Jonny Wilkinson

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

AMID the phoney war here before their World Cup ruck with England, thereis nothing artificial about the Wallabies' concern at being reacquainted withJonny Wilkinson's boot nor about the idea of their own path towards thesemi-finals being plotted by an absolute beginner.

While there is an understandable confidence about Saturday's showdown withinthe Australian camp, which no amount of their platitudes about the "majorthreat" posed by the old enemy can conceal, it is the tale of two No10s whichoffers them cause for concern.

In the white corner, England will boast the experienced, ruthless bogeyman whodrop kicked them into a pit of national despair four years ago while in thegreen-and-gold, the Aussies have to count on Berrick Barnes, a willowy kid whooffered only open-mouthed amazement that he was in their World Cup squad atall.

The Wallabies already know what they'll find with the born-again Wilkinson -solidity, laser kicking and the merciless punishment of any indiscipline.

Matt Giteau's analysis that "he provides a lot for the team, not only hiskicking and general play, but just him being there in the team" was aremarkable tribute, offering a feel for just how psychologically crucialWilkinson's presence is in sowing doubts in Aussie minds.

Yet if they have a rather bigger question over whether the 21-year-old Barnesis up to handling the pressure in the Stade Velodrome in only his fourth Testouting, the Wallabies are doing a good job in deflecting it. Because ever sinceStephen Larkham's injury had them asking how to replace their brilliantconductor, the Queenslander has been demonstrating exactly how. It's why Barnesis now known to his team-mates as "The Answer".

When Wales immediately asked the questions in a red-hot Millennium Stadium,Barnes's answer was one massive clearance to touch, a lovely dummy to set up atry for Matt Giteau and a nerveless drop goal. Even Gareth Thomas's disgracefullate hit failed to ruffle him as he put Australia in command within 20 minutes. …

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