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Berrick Barnes keen to leave Waratahs for Japan


Berrick Barnes wants to play rugby in Japan and the 2015 Rugby World Cup

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Article Published: Wednesday 6 February 2013


Wallabies and Waratahs back Berrick Barnes has confirmed that he wants to leave Australian Rugby and play his game in Japan.

Barnes did however add that he has yet to receive a formal offer from Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights.

Fifty-test-cap Barnes says that he hopes to play for Australia in the 2015 Rugby World cup but also wants to experience playing offshore.

"If Japan works out I'm excited about it, I think it's a great opportunity for both me and my family so if that works out I'm looking forward to it," Barnes told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"But in saying that I've got six months here (with the Waratahs) which could potentially be a really great six months and that's what we're trying to make it."

Twenty-six-year-old Barnes also conceded that there are administrative hurdles blocking his way to moving to Japan as he is contracted to the ARU until the end of next year which means he would need an early release if wanted to leave at the end of the Super Rugby season.

Barnes also needs a formal offer from the Wild Knights.

"I can't sign a deal when I don't have one, there's all those things I've got to make a call on when it comes," he said.

The playmaker denies that he is suffering "hangover" from a challenging couple of years with the Wallabies and Waratahs.

'"Everyone says (I have a) 'hangover' here from the last few years but it's about where I'm at and whether I think I want to go - and come back, too."

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has raised the idea that Barnes might be disillusioned with rugby but Barnes is philosophical about his future when questioned about his intentions with the Waratahs.

"I could bust myself this year and be carrying drinks for the rest of my career, you never know, it's all those sorts of things that happen," he said.

"Two years ago I was thinking about giving it away so you don't know where you're going to end up."

Last year was a shocker of a year for Australian Rugby in the injury department and Barnes turned out to be a reliable playmakers when injury claimed Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor but he says he wants to settle in the No.10/No.12 channel.

He was regularly used at fullback by Robbie Deans last year but Barnes thinks that he will be at his most effective for the Waratahs as an inside-centre or five-eighth.

"I really enjoyed fullback ... but you look at the (Waratahs) team, we've got back-three exponents coming out of our backsides, we've got that many and really quality players," he said.

"I think skills-wise I can add more value to the team in other positions and probably more likely around that No.10/No.12 area."

The Waratahs backs spent most of Tuesday practising under the high ball, with AFL convert Israel Folau moving with ease among his new teammates.

"If you look across Australian rugby and Wallabies games you'd say that has been one of our weaker areas, that high-ball reception ... if (Folau) brings that and transfers it on to the field that's going to be a great asset for us," Barnes said.

"But I don't want to see everyone talk it up and all of a sudden he has a (poor) game and everyone cuts him down. He's got to learn, it'll take time."

 
 
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