Deans dilemma - Cooper or Barnes?

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James Mortimer     02 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Five wins from their last six encounters against the Springboks is evened out by the fact that the visitors have a excellent record in Western Australia, but it is the selection of who runs the backlines that will intrigue.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is expected to keep faith with Bulls ten Morne Steyn, but the question marks over the South Africans isn't over their back general, but more over what sort of game plan they execute.

But the pressure on Deans is growing, and it seems initial goals of beating the All Blacks and winning the Bledisloe Cup have taken a back seat to winning as many of their last test matches in The Investec Rugby Championship as possible.

Cooper started against the All Blacks at Eden Park, with Barnes playing at second five-eighth, but neither player was able to dictate proceedings operating behind a beaten Wallabies pack.

Barnes, who had a mixed season with the Waratahs, excelled playing against Wales during the June Internationals.

His game has more poise and control than Coopers, but some critics feel he doesn't have the x-factor or attacking game to ensure the Wallabies can foot it with the best teams in the world.

Cooper gained a minor knee injury for his trouble in his first test match of the year, and return to Eden Park for the first time since the Wallabies won the bronze medal, but will be available for selection in Perth.

Some feel that Cooper is also better suited to take on the South Africans, although the Wallabies try scoring feats have dried up even with the Reds playmaker at the helm.

The Australians have scored just two tries in their two tests against the Springboks, a far cry from the 14 they notched in the three internationals against the men in the Republic before that.