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Waratahs play down Berrick Barnes departure talk

Berrick Barnes has been linked to the Panasonic Wild Knights

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Article Published: Thursday 31 January 2013|

The Waratahs have played down reports that their star playmaker Berrick Barnes has agreed to join Japanese team the Panasonic Wild Knights at the end of the Super Rugby season.

Barnes has a contract with the Australian Rugby Union until the end of 2013 but Fairfax media said that the twenty-six-year old will move to Japan and replace New Zealand playmaker Mike Delany who is leaving to join a French club.

Rugby League convert Barnes won his 50th Wallaby cap when he played against Wales in December and is only the 37th Wallaby (out of 866) to have won 50 or more caps.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says that he has received no indication from Barnes that he intends to leave Sydney for Japan.

"No one says sayonara until they've left," Cheika told reporters.

"My job is to make sure that this place is such a good place to be at that guys don't want to leave."

Barnes is one of several Waratahs players reported to be looking at offshore options after a disappointing last season in which NSW won just four matches.

"I've spoken to the team about it and said 'Listen. What everyone does (contract wise) is up to everyone'," Cheika said.

"What we're about as a team is creating a great environment this year so that we leave something for next year's team.

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