Berrick Stevens Barnes
- 820Wallaby Number
Berrick Barnes was a multi-talented utility back who walked away from rugby league to forge an international rugby career with Australia.
Born in Brisbane but raised in both Kingaroy and Ipswich, Barnes’ family had a solid rugby tradition. His grandfather Robin Shaw was captain of the only Brisbane Boys’ College 1st XV to ever win a GPS Premiership and also played ten games for Queensland at senior level.
A star sportsman as a youth, Barnes also excelled at cricket (he represented Queensland U15s on a tour to Sri Lanka) however had it not been for a swimming scholarship he won to a private school, Ipswich Grammar, Barnes might not have pursued a career in rugby union. Although he played rugby at IGS, Barnes excelled in rugby league and it was through his performances with the Kingaroy Red Ants that he came to the attention of the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos. He signed a contract at just 17 and a year later made his Broncos’ debut. In his only NRL season (2005) Barnes played nine first grade matches.
In 2006 he switched codes, signed with the Queensland Reds and debuted against the Waratahs at Suncorp. A year later he was selected to his first Rugby World Cup and played his maiden Test against Japan in Lyon. He was quickly thrust into the international limelight after Stephen Larkham succumbed to a knee injury and he started at No.10 against Wales, Fiji and then England in the quarter-final.
In 2011 the playmaker suffered a series of head knocks which led to him being diagnosed with “footballers' migraine” and he missed much of the domestic Test season. Nonetheless he was selected in the Wallaby squad to his second Rugby World Cup.
Unnervingly calm under pressure, Barnes went on to play 51 Tests throughout a decorated seven-year Wallaby career.
2007 Barnes was selected to his first Rugby World Cup and won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Stephen Larkham at fly-half in the 91-3 pool game victory over Japan in Lyon. He became the 87th Wallaby to score a try on debut when he crossed for the first of his two tries in that game. A week later he made his first appearance in the starting XV, at No.10, in the 32-20 win against Wales at Cardiff. Barnes also picked up caps in the final pool game victory over Fiji and the quarter-final loss to England.
2008 Barnes won nine Tests caps, six of which came as the starting inside centre.
2009 He started in eight Tests and played all but one wearing the No.12 jersey.
2010 Barnes earned ten Test caps despite the presence in the squad of both Matt Giteau and Quade Cooper.
2011 He won selection in his second Rugby World Cup squad and played six Tests, predominantly as a replacement.
2012 Barnes won a career high 13 caps and starred, with 34 invaluable points, in the 3-0 home series victory against Wales. Barnes' form against Wales had always been strong, so much so that he picked up man-of-the-match awards in five of his seven career Tests. In the final international of the year, against the Welsh in Cardiff, Barnes won his 50th Test cap.
2013 Barnes started at No.15 in the opening test of the year, the blockbuster against the touring British & Irish Lions, however a collision with right wing sensation Israel Folau left him with a concussion that ruled him out for the rest of the series.