14 Aug 2012

Genia believes Barnes deserves number 10 jersey

7:26 am on 14 August 2012

The Wallabies halfback Will Genia says Quade Cooper is fit and ready to go, but believes Berrick Barnes has earned the right to retain the first five duties for Saturday's Test against the All Blacks in Sydney.

Cooper has missed Australia's past five Tests since his World Cup injury, but did play 5 matches for the Queensland Reds.

Barnes is tipped to retain the number 10 jersey he wore against Wales in June, when the team for the Rugby Championship opener is announced today.

Genia says the question is whether coach Robbie Deans wants to put Cooper straight in against the All Blacks for 80 minutes.

He says from a player's point of view, it would be great to have Cooper there, but Barnes did a great job against Wales and in all fairness probably deserves first crack at that number 10 jersey.

There will be at least two changes to the side that completed a three-Test whitewash of Wales due to injuries to number 8 Wycliff Palu and inside centre Pat McCabe.

Dave Dennis is likely to fill the vacant back row spot, while Anthony Faingaa is considered a strong chance of replacing McCabe.