Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Roos has helped Wallabies - Barnes

Berrick Barnes and his Australia team-mates have been taking tips from an AFL coach
Berrick Barnes and his Australia team-mates have been taking tips from an AFL coach

Berrick Barnes believes Australia's back line will be better equipped to deal with South Africa's high kicks after spending time with former AFL coach Paul Roos.

Roos worked with the Wallabies when they were in Sydney about how to best approach catching the high ball ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with the Springboks in Perth.

"It's only going to come with time. You're not going to pick that up in a day or two, but I found it was invaluable having him in there with a different perspective," Waratahs fly-half Barnes said. "To have his expertise there, hopefully he can come in a bit more when we're in Sydney."

It is not the first time the sports of rugby union and Australian rules football have overlapped - rugby players have worked with AFL coaches in the past in an attempt to improve their kicking. Barnes said while there were some differences in the approaches of the two games, there remained some areas in which they could learn from each other.

"Just sort of technical stuff. Kick the knee up, staying straight, attack the ball," he said of the advice Roos gave the team.

"Just giving us a touching on what the AFL boys were doing."

Debutant Dom Shipperley said the work would be invaluable ahead of Saturday's Test as kick and chase was a strength of the South Africans' game.

"I've been practising a fair bit this year," Shipperley said.

"KPIs for a winger is to be able to catch the ball, tackle and score tries.

"(Roos') philosophy was you've got to attack the ball and really get front on and go at the ball. The most aggressive bloke in the air wins the ball so you've got to be more aggressive."

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