Aussie zeal re­freshes Ge­nia

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

MEL­BOURNE: The ex­cite­ment of be­ing back in the Wal­la­bies camp is help­ing Will Ge­nia recharge his bat­ter­ies after a long sea­son in France, the ex­pe­ri­enced scrumhalf said yes­ter­day.

Ge­nia helped Stade Fran­cais to a Euro­pean Chal­lenge Cup tri­umph last month and is likely to slot straight back into Michael Cheika’s start­ing side for the June in­ter­na­tion­als against Fiji, Scot­land and Italy.

An in­jury to scrumhalf Nick Phipps has placed fur­ther pres­sure on Ge­nia to be fit and fresh for the opener against Fiji at the Mel­bourne Rec­tan­gu­lar Sta­dium on Satur­day.

“Be­ing in and around the guys is quite re­fresh­ing in it­self so I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to these three weeks,” the 29-year-old told re­porters in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day.

“On the back of a long sea­son I’m a lit­tle bit fa­tigued, but the ex­cite­ment lev­els be­ing a part of the na­tional set-up gets you through.

“You can be as tired as ever but when you’re called in to rep­re­sent your coun­try there’s no big­ger hon­our and there’s noth­ing more ex­cit­ing.”

Ge­nia is keen to make his home-com­ing a per­ma­nent one and said he was clos­ing in on a deal for a sec­ond stint with the Reds, hav­ing helped guide the Su­per Rugby fran­chise to the 2011 ti­tle.

“I’ve been speak­ing to them for a while, so that will hope­fully even­tu­ate soon,” Ge­nia said.

“The in­tent is to come back home and fin­gers crossed that hap­pens. If I come home it’s to Queens­land, or prob­a­bly just stay in Paris.

“I love play­ing for Queens­land, I al­ways have. I started there and fin­ished my Aus­tralian rugby ca­reer there, so hope­fully we can get some­thing done and I can come back and maybe fin­ish up there.”

Reds fans would wel­come back the Pa­pua New Guine­aborn scrumhalf with open arms after the team’s strug­gles in the cur­rent sea­son, with only three wins from their 13 matches.

Ge­nia said he had trou­ble keep­ing up with the com­pe­ti­tion but had heard good things about Joe Pow­ell and Jake Gor­don, the un­capped scrumhalves in Cheika’s Wal­la­bies squad.

“I wouldn’t say they’re back­ups, ev­ery­one’s com­pet­ing for a spot,” he said.

“I’ve heard they’ve been play­ing re­ally, re­ally well. In par­tic­u­lar, Joey Pow­ell has had a re­ally good sea­son, so it’s go­ing to be a good com­pe­ti­tion for the three of us to see who gets the game-day spots in the 23.”

Mean­while, the rookie coaches at Aus­tralia’s mis­fir­ing Su­per Rugby teams will learn from their strug­gles this sea­son and should be given pa­tience to turn their sides around, ac­cord­ing to Wal­la­bies skills coach Mick Byrne.

With two rounds to play in July, the five Aus­tralian teams hold a 0-23 record against New Zealand op­po­nents, while four have failed to win more than four matches.

Former All Black skills coach Byrne said pos­i­tives could come from the sea­son of woe.

“We’ve got a lot of coaches that are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing that ei­ther in their first or sec­ond year this year and that’s a pos­i­tive as well, and the learn­ings they’re go­ing to get from that are go­ing to be huge for their ca­reers,” he said in com­ments pub­lished by broad­caster Fox Sports.– Reuters

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