Wallabies halfback Will Genia has backed Berrick Barnes instead of Quade Cooper to start for Australia in the opening match of the Four Nation Rugby Championship this weekend.
Genia says that Barnes has earned the right to retain five-eighth duties as Cooper has missed Australia's last five Test matches after he injured his knee in the bronze medal match at last year's Rugby World Cup.
Cooper missed most of the Reds Super Rugby campaign which led to him missing the Wallabies June Tests against Scotland and Wales and Barnes filling in.
Barnes has now been tipped to retain his starting No.10 jersey when the Wallabies name their team for this weekend's Bledisloe Cup clash against the All Blacks.
"Quadey has done a lot of work in terms of getting his body right and I think he is fit, he is ready to go, " Genia told AAP on Monday.
"It's just a matter of whether you'd be willing, I guess, to put him into a test match straight up and play 80 minutes against the All Blacks.
"I think that's more a call for (Wallabies coach) Robbie (Deans) than anyone else.
"From a player's point of view, it would be obviously great having him (Cooper) there, but Barnesy did a great job against Wales and in all fairness, I guess, probably deserves first crack at that No.10 jersey. "
The Wallabies team will have at least two changes to the team that beat Wales 3-0 as No.8 Wycliff Palu and inside centre Pat McCabe have both been injured.
Waratah Dave Dennis is likely to come in to the back row while Anthony Faingaa is expected to come in for McCabe.
The Reds were knocked out of the Super Rugby play offs in the first round so having played in all of the Reds Super Rugby matches and the four Wallabies test Genia has enjoyed the last three weeks of rest and says that he is refreshed after the break.
"I definitely appreciated the time off. I haven't lost any fitness, any conditioning, I've been working pretty hard, " said Genia, Australia's 2012 Super Rugby player of the season.
Genia said that winning the breakdown will be the key factor for Australia against the All Blacks.
"They tend to dominate there which gives them good, clean quick ball and they tend to stifle a lot of opposition ball because they are so good in that area, " Genia said.
"We've identified that as a big focus in the last couple of weeks and leading into this game and that's an area where we're going to have to dominate if we are going to do well against them. "