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Barnes slams Wallabies 'Contiki Tour' claims
Russell Jackson
13:30 AEST Fri Nov 23 2012

Cultured fullback Berrick Barnes has slammed claims the Wallabies are enjoying a Contiki Tour in Europe.

The Wallabies came under attack leading into last weekend's 20-14 win over England with a media report suggesting the Australian players were simply swanning around Europe and making a fortune doing it.

The Australians copped a wave of criticism following their humiliating 33-6 loss in the first game of the tour against France in Paris.

Barnes noted that players have one day off a week on the four-Test tour and they are entitled to take in the sights of historic cities like Paris and Florence should they choose.

"You're here mate ... you're not going to tell me you're not going to go out and look at the Duomo or any of the great sights while you're here in Florence," Barnes told AAP.

"You don't want to look back on your footy career and think I was in Florence and all I saw was the hotel. You'd be kicking yourself.

"You've got to get out and experience it but it's no Contiki Tour like people are trying to say. Comments like that hurt because we are working hard.

"Nobody was happy with the France game and we worked hard and turned that around."

Barnes can't see the harm in players getting away from rugby for a while - as he famously did himself during the 2007 World Cup in France when the Wallabies' youngest squad member back-packed solo through Europe.

"Blokes are entitled to go out on their day off and try and get a bit of balance off the field. That can be golf or whatever they want to do and so they should," he said.

"We've got our priorities right and when we train, we train hard."

The Wallabies play Italy in Florence on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) before heading to Cardiff to face Wales a week later in the final Test of the tour.


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