x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Horan excited by axis of Barnes and Giteau

The distinguished former Australia centre believes the timely return of several key players could spark a change in winless Australia's fortunes.

NEW SOUTH WALES // Tim Horan, the distinguished former Australia centre, believes the timely return of several key players could spark a change in winless Australia's fortunes when they take on the dominant South Africans in Brisbane this afternoon. Horan, described by former captain Nick Farr-Jones as probably the greatest Wallaby of all-time, feels the Springboks could be guilty of complacency when they run out at the Suncorp Stadium after winning their first four games.

"South Africa have just about got the Tri Nations sewn up," said Horan, a guest of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority - principle sponsors of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team - at Rally Australia. "They'll be hard to beat, but might be a touch too relaxed. The Wallabies are in a little bit of transition at the moment, but I think they have a good chance. "The Boks had it very easy [beating Australia 32-25 in Perth last week] and they could potentially take their foot off the gas. Facing New Zealand and South Africa every fortnight is not easy and Australia have lacked skill and structure recently.

"The Wallabies need to perform. Confidence comes from winning games and Australia need to attack," said Horan. Robbie Deans has recalled influential scrum-half Will Genia, a move 80-cap Horan said is long overdue. "Bringing Genia back is great, but it should probably have happened weeks ago. He's performed well at club level all year," he said. Berrick Barnes will also return at inside centre to form a midfield axis with Matt Giteau.

"Barnes is back from injury and is a key man: he allows Giteau to run and dictate play more," said Horan. "Berrick's not the sort of player who wins you Test matches, but he adds direction and gives more structure and organisation to the team." emegson@thenational.ae Australia v South Africa, 2.05pm KO, Showsports 1