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Barnes back and Mitchell axed for Waratahs
March 13, 2013
Berrick Barnes in pre-season training with the Waratahs, Centenial Park, Sydney, Australia, January 7, 2013
Berrick Barnes is one of six changes after Waratahs coach Michael Cheika wielded the axe © Getty Images
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Playmaker Berrick Barnes has been cleared to make his Super Rugby return against the Cheetahs on Friday night, while two Wallabies have been dumped from the Waratahs squad after coach Michael Cheika wielded the axe.

Barnes, who injured his knee in a pre-season trial match, is one of six new faces in the squad that suffered a humiliating 35-6 loss to the Brumbies last weekend. The 26-year-old will line-up at inside-centre for Tom Carter who has been dropped from the 22.

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu and Test winger Drew Mitchell are the high-profile casualties after both were also demoted from the match-day squad.

Paddy Ryan will start at tighthead prop in a new-look front row that includes John Ulugia at hooker after Tatafu Polota-Nau was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Pat McCutcheon has been elevated to the starting line-up at No.8, allowing skipper Dave Dennis to return to blindside flanker, with Mitch Chapman dropping back to the bench.

Out wide Cheika has gone with two new wingers after shifting Israel Folau back to full-back and sensationally axing 63-Test Wallaby Mitchell.

Peter Betham takes over from Mitchell on the left wing while Lachie Turner will start on the right flank, with Ben Volavola shifting back to the bench. Outside-centre Rob Horne returns from a hamstring injury suffered during the pre-season via the bench.

Waratahs: 1. Benn Robinson, 2. John Ulugia, 3. Paddy Ryan, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 5. Kane Douglas, 6. Dave Dennis (c), 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Pat McCutcheon, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Peter Betham, 12. Berrick Barnes, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Lachie Turner, 15. Israel Folau. Reserves: 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Mitchell Chapman, 19. Lopeti Timani, 20. Matt Lucas, 21. Ben Volavola, 22. Rob Horne.

Greg Growden and Russell Barwick share all the latest from the rugby rumour mill and preview this weekend's Six Nations and Super Rugby action.
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