Barnes to spearhead Waratahs

Chris Hickey says he will consider playing Berrick Barnes at No 10 next season.

It is a known fact that Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans is interested in experimenting with Barnes at pivot and Matt Giteau at inside centre, but a serious ankle injury ruled former out of the end-of-year tour and denied Deans that opportunity.

Waratahs head coach Hickey, however, has expressed interest in selecting the former Reds player at flyhalf during their pre-season preparations.

‘We are very aware of the skills set Berrick has got,’ Hickey told rugbyheaven.com.au. ‘While it would have been nice to see that on the tour, we will hopefully get that opportunity in the [Super 14] trials.

‘You are always open to ideas. You have to keep an open mind. We are more than happy to support the Wallabies’ interests as well.’

Although he is willing to help the Wallabies, Hickey added that the Waratahs will be top priority in testing Barnes at pivot.

‘But at the end of the day, we have to be able to choose a team that is able to perform at Super 14,’ Hickey said. ‘That’s always the priority, but within that priority you are always interested to listen to coaches’ opinions.

‘We have to play in the Super 14 and do our best. If we can do things to support the Wallabies in that context, I think all the Australian Super 14 teams would have the same approach.’

Barnes will go for assessment on his ankle injury next week to find out if he will recover in time for the Waratahs’ warm-up games against Queensland, Fiji and the Brumbies. He is expected to be fit for two out of the three matches.