Barnes won’t copy Cooper

Berrick Barnes says he won't try and mimic Quade Cooper on the forthcoming tour of the UK. [more]

Barnes won’t copy Cooper

Berrick Barnes says he won’t try and mimic Quade Cooper on the forthcoming tour of the UK.

Cooper tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the World Cup win over Wales and will miss the December 3 clash with the same opposition in Cardiff and the high-profile encounter with the Barbarians at Twickenham a week earlier.

Barnes is vying with utility back James O’Connor to wear the No10 shirt in Cooper’s absence and the Waratahs star says he won’t alter his own game if he is given the nod later this month.

The 25-year-old, who excelled at the 2007 World Cup, is less of a flair player than the exuberant Cooper but he insists he doesn’t feel any pressure to produce the kind of enigmatic individual displays his rival has become renowned for.

''I can't do what Quade can do," said Barnes, who is favourite to be the Wallaby fly-half against the Babaas.

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"I can only bring my set of skills to the table and I'll be trying to do that.

''Quade is a big loss for us. It's something we've had to become pretty adept at over the last year or so, covering with injuries …so whoever steps into the place is going to have to do a job.''

Barnes is hopeful that he will be the man required to do that job in a fortnight’s time, with O’Connor employed alongside him at inside centre.

Despite being employed as a wing or full back for the Wallabies, O’Connor has publicly stated his desire to get closer to the action sooner rather than later.

And while Australia coach Robbie Deans has hinted that O’Connor could share the No10 berth with Barnes, the latter believes he and the 21-year-old could form an impressive partnership playing alongside each other rather than instead of one another.

''James is a guy that drifts into midfield anyway when he was playing on the wing as he's got that skill set,'' added Barnes.

''He kicks and he's bloody good on his feet. For a guy who only weighs about 88 kilograms, he brushes off the first tackle more often than not.

“So to see him at centre with a bit of room – and he enjoys that physical contest – would be good for him.''

As for Deans, the man contracted to lead the Wallabies into action against the Lions in two years’ time admits he hasn’t yet made up his mind who will replace the unfortunate Cooper.

''We've made it pretty clear that obviously James and Berrick will be in those decision-making roles but in which order, we'll communicate when we name the sides,'' said Deans, whose squad head to England on Saturday.

''We've got to have conversations with these guys first, but they're both going to be key in these two fixtures.'

''One of the key decisions for us is what will make that transition to No.10 easiest, in particular for James because he hasn't had as much background as Barnesy.”

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