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Barnes to stick the boot in
At ANZ Stadium, Saturday August 22, live on Sky Sports Xtra from 10.30am
Australia v New Zealand
Sat, 10.30am, Sky Sports Xtra
Australia and New Zealand clash in Sydney on Saturday with both teams looking to bounce back from defeats in their previous Tri-Nations matches.
The Wallabies come into the match on the back of a 29-17 defeat to South Africa a fortnight ago, and will also be vying for revenge after losing to the All Blacks in the tournament opener on July 4.
The Springboks currently lead the way with three wins from three matches, and a defeat for the winless Wallabies would put another huge dent in their title aspirations.
Speaking ahead of the Sydney showdown, Australia centre Berrick Barnes believes the outcome will more than likely be determined by the battle of the boot.
Dan Carter returns at number 10 for the All Blacks in place of Stephen Donald, and although dry conditions are predicted at ANZ Stadium, Barnes is predicting a kicking assault from the Kiwis.
"We'll be doing our best to give the fans what they want and that's a good contest of running rugby but obviously conditions and how the game's going will determine that," Barnes said.
"Kicking's going to be a part of it no matter how much we try and say we want it to be running rugby, there's going to be an element of kicking to it because field position - as we've seen with the way the laws are now - plays a big part in winning games.
"If you're down the right end you'll go a long way to winning it, so kicking will play a part but I certainly hope that when we get the opportunity to play football we will."
Barnes pointed to the return of Carter, and the inclusion of Luke McAlister ahead of Ma'a Nonu at inside centre, as a sure sign the Kiwis will again look to control proceedings with the boot.
"I think it gives them a lot more options I suppose in terms of kicking, (having) a left and right footer will obviously help them get out of trouble.
"Luke's obviously a very powerful player, good on his feet so he'll bring another element to their team for sure."
Barnes also concedes that he and fellow playmaker Matt Giteau both have room for improvement in terms of their kicking in general play.
"Some of our kicks haven't been as well directed as we'd like," he admitted.
"And that's where (Springboks scrumhalf) Fourie du Preez was phenomenal last week his kicks were basically within a sixpence of each other and the chasers came down right with the ball.
"We've got to make sure our contestable kicks are that ... not caught 10 metres away from the defensive line."
Australia: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Richard Brown, 7 George Smith (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 David Pocock, 20 Will Genia, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Peter Hynes.
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Josevata Rokocoko, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Rodney So'oialo, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Ma'a Nonu.
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|Saturday 4th October|
|Argentina 21 - 17 Australia|
|South Africa 27 - 25 New Zealand|
|Saturday 27th September|
|Argentina 13 - 34 New Zealand|
|South Africa 28 - 10 Australia|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Australia 32 - 25 Argentina|
|New Zealand 14 - 10 South Africa|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Australia 24 - 23 South Africa|
|New Zealand 28 - 9 Argentina|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com