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Barnes wary of emotional Cardiff clash
Russell Jackson
16:51 AEST Wed Nov 28 2012

Wallabies fullback Berrick Barnes is mindful of the last time a rugby champion was farewelled at Millennium Stadium, as Australia prepares for skipper Nathan Sharpe's final game this weekend in Cardiff.

Barnes, who will become the 37th Wallaby to play 50 Tests on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), says both Australia and Wales have plenty to play for but emotion needs to be put aside.

It's a huge game for the Wallabies who are desperate to send the much-admired Sharpe out a winner in his 116th and final Test.

But Barnes is wary of what happened to the Welsh last December when they were beaten 24-18 in an emotion-packed farewell game for 87-Test winger Shane Williams, Wales's leading try-scorer with 58.

"They've got their reasons to win and we've got ours," Barnes said.

"You can have all these things to play for but it's the decisions you make through that 80 minutes ... that's what counts.

"They were trying to play for Shane Williams last year and we got the jump on them out there."

By the time Barnes scored Australia's third try of the night in Williams's farewell the game was in the bag at 24-6 with about 20 minutes remaining.

"We're playing for Sharpey in this one but it's obviously how we get out of the blocks too," he said.

"I don't think we'll be breathing fire and getting too carried away with it all."

Barnes is pleased to be celebrating a milestone at a ground which has a special place in his heart.

He made his run-on debut in just his second Test at Millennium Stadium in a pool match of the 2007 Rugby World Cup as a late replacement for injured Steve Larkham when Australia defeated Wales 32-20 and the then fresh-faced No.10 Barnes slotted a field goal.

"It really is a nice milestone and a good place to do it here in Wales. I've got a lot of fond memories here," Barnes said.

"I really like the Welsh people they've got a really good grasp of rugby and a great passion for it.

"In particular, I get on really well with their boys too. They are a good bunch of lads. It's a bit of a step back to the old school. You rip in on the field and then you have a beer afterwards and a good chin wag and that's how footy should be."

The Welsh were beaten 33-10 by the All Blacks in Cardiff last weekend to give them a sixth consecutive Test loss.

Half of those six losses have come against the Wallabies who beat them 3-0 in a series in Australia where every game was tight.

To add more spice, Wales have lost their past seven Tests against Australia.

"Wales are desperate and we've been desperate a number of times this year and we've responded well from it and I definitely know how they'd be feeling," Barnes said.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans looks likely to make just two changes to the starting lineup which beat Italy 22-19 in Florence last weekend.

Second-rower Kane Douglas is set to return from a knee injury with Sitaleki Timani expected to be suspended when he fronts a disciplinary panel in Bristol for striking an Italian player.

Nick Phipps is back as the starting No.9 as Brett Sheehan returns to Australia with an ankle injury while David Pocock is tipped to make his long-awaited return from injury off the bench.

Likely Wallabies team (15-1): Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.

AAP rj


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