Barkley dismisses Test hopes
June 7, 2010
Olly Barkley has dismissed his hopes of making the England Test side © Getty Images
England centre Olly Barkley has written off his chances of starting the first Test against Australia on Saturday.
The Bath midfielder, one of the form players in the Guinness Premiership run-in, starts for the England midweek side against the Australian Barbarians on Tuesday in the knowledge that he is behind club team-mate Shontayne Hape in the pecking order.
England manager Martin Johnson has insisted that every player in his 44-man squad has a chance of making the Test team but Barkley has broken from the party line.
"The Test team is the one you all want to be in and I'm not going to lie, I'm disappointed not to be in the side," he said. "The Test side is organised for Saturday and to play two games of Test match intensity from Tuesday to Saturday is not overly realistic at this stage of the season.
"The selection was made four or five days ago so I had a while to get my head around it. I'm not one to dwell on what's not going to be so I'll be doing everything tomorrow night to stake a claim for a place in the second Test. It's a long tour, a week's a long time in sport so we'll see what happens."
Despite his disappointment Barkley threw his full support behind Hape, who had struggled to make the Bath side at No.12 towards the end of the season as Barkley hit top form.
"Shontayne has been involved in a few squads for the last six months now and he was due to play a large role for the Six Nations had he not got ill," said Barkley. "I had an inkling they would want to see what he is capable of at Test level and he deserves his shot. He's played very well at Bath when he has played. I'm still disappointed but he gets my full support. He's a great bloke and a very talented guy."
"If England flounder in the next World Cup the knives will be out - six-year contract or not." Tom Hamilton on the new contract for the England coaches
With the deadline for World Cup ticket applications now over, Tom May outlines his hopes, gripes and wishes for next year's global gathering
Floundering Leicester, exquisite Exeter and two old England players tearing up trees - it's the Monday Maul
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship and all the domestic action from the northern hemisphere