Berrick Barnes could return to the Wallabies as they look
to lift for their test against England at the weekend.
Berrick Barnes is expected to be among a raft of changes
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will make to his starting line up
to face England this weekend as the Australians look to get
their European tour back on track.
Deans has plenty of quality players returning from injury for
the clash at Twickenham with winger Digby Ioane, lock
Sitaleki Timani and prop Ben Alexander available for Sunday's
Flanker David Pocock had been expected to make his
long-awaited comeback against England but is in doubt after
having scans on a calf muscle in London.
Hooker Stephen Moore is also expected to come under
consideration after making his return from a hamstring injury
off the bench in last weekend's 33-6 loss to France in Paris
where he became Australia's most capped hooker, while winger
Drew Mitchell could also find his way into the team.
"We've got a number of blokes we should be able to consider
this week," Deans said.
"We were always going to consider that group when they
returned and obviously we consider the previous performance
in determining our starting line-up at every instance."
Barnes produced a solid cameo at fullback in his return from
injury against France with his effort pleasing Deans.
The NSW Waratah came on early in the second half for fullback
Mike Harris who was struggling at the back for the Wallabies.
"Berrick did well. He did what he does well. He's a good
communicator," Deans said.
Deans was asked if Barnes was ready start against England.
"Yes. He's obviously returning from injury and we sort of
managed him through that but he reported as being fine after
Until his French cameo Barnes hadn't played since suffering a
punctured lung against Argentina in September.
"It was my first time back for a while and I really felt it
out there," he said.
"It'd be good to start (against England). I've got a bit of
work to do fitness wise but some coaches like to start
returning players then bring them off later but that's
Robbie's call to make."
England are coming off a seven-try 54-12 annihilation of Fiji
last Saturday and are looking to chalk up a third straight
Cook Cup win over the Wallabies.
"They'll be puffing their chests out. They had a very good
win against the Fijians," Barnes said.
"They'll be confident but we have to lick our wounds and get
on with it. There's no better motivation than playing the
Poms in their own backyard."
Australia's recent nemesis, winger Chris Ashton, is available
to make his return for England after missing the Fiji game
due to suspension after picking up three yellow cards in the
Ashton has scored three tries in three tests against
Australia and coach Stuart Lancaster said the speedster will
be raring to go.
"Chris was desperately disappointed to miss this game
(against Fiji)," Lancaster said.
"He likes scoring tries and, if anything, this will fuel his
hunger and desire to get back into the side. It was a tough
lesson to learn.
"(Australia) are a top-three side and we recognise the
quality of players we will need to beat them."
Lancaster is also expecting to have prop Alex Corbisiero and
centre Jonathan Joseph available to face the Wallabies.