Barnes hoping to return for Waratahs this week

Wallabies and Waratahs star back Berrick Barnes is hoping to make his Super Rugby comeback this weekend but doesn’t hold much faith that he will be named to face the Stormers this weekend.

Barnes made a late entry to Super Rugby this season due to a knee injury and then in his fifth round return match -against the Cheetahs – after 18 minutes he dislocated his thumb.

Barnes has now recovered from surgery and is available for selection along with Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell.

The Waratahs have been steadily improving in recent weeks and put in their best performance yet on Saturday against the Southern Kings.

Due to the Waratahs performance against the Kings Barnes thinks it will be tough to break back into the team and is expecting to make his comeback in Sydney club rugby instead.

“I just want to play some footy but, look, when you win 72-10 you can’t expect too many changes,” Barnes told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“So you’ve just got to roll with it, be ready. I’m available for selection.

“Obviously you can’t replace game fitness, but I’m probably in a better space than I was when I got onto the field earlier in the year so it should be good.”

While Barnes is not expecting a call up for the Waratahs this week but centre Adam Ashley-Cooper says that coach Michael Cheika has shown that he is not afraid to make changes to his teams.

“Obviously after a win like that, you wouldn’t think there’d be many changes,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“But Cheik always likes to mix things up and keep blokes on their toes.

“What he’s created here is a competitive environment so that win is behind us now and it’s all about the Stormers now and preparing well for them.”

The Stormers have conceded the second lowest number of points this season but have also scored the fourth lowest number of points.

They Cape Town franchise won the South African Conference in 2011 and 2012 but are currently in second last place in that conferecne and are in 10th place overall while the Waratahs are in 8th place.

“They’re a side that are probably the complete opposite to us,” Barnes said.

“They rely on their defence to win their games and we rely on our attack.

“So it’s going to be a clash of styles and it’s going to be interesting to see who comes out on top.

“We’ve shown signs that we were getting close – in that first half against the Chiefs and for 60 minutes in the Bulls game before. Everything in that last game sort of clicked.

“But this is a much sterner test this week.”

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