Aussie zeal refreshes Genia
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