Genia ready to take credit for experience and effort
WILL Genia’s selection for a Rugby World Cup he hopes to dominate as the Wallabies top halfback started as a prank call over a credit card blowout.
The champion Queensland No.9 said he had not heard whether he was in or an unlucky omission at 8pm the night before the 31-man squad was announced.
“When I finally picked up the phone it was a guy calling about a default on my credit card,” Genia said.
“‘You have a bill to pay and, if you don’t, I’m going to have to report you’ went the call.
“There was a laugh and ‘ I gotcha’. It was George Gregan who just wanted to tell me I’d made the World Cup squad.
“It was a good get by George but special that past World Cup players made the calls to the guys about their selection.”
Just where Genia sits as a World Cup factor is clouded in some minds because he has played only 40 minutes of Test rugby this season.
Genia, 27, could not be more clear. After knee cartilage surgery, he is fully fit to play the tune-up Test against the US Eagles in Chicago next weekend and will be going flat out at the World Cup.
“These may be the last Tests I play (with his move to French club Stade Francais) so it is making it very easy to focus on giving everything for the next two months,” he said.
Genia’s assurance that he can aid a Wallabies World Cup quest bubbles through when asked why he is in the squad and not Nic White.
“I’d say my ability as a player,” he said.
“I believe in myself and back myself that I can be the best halfback in the country and, if I play to my potential, in the world.
“I’ll bring experience, leadership, my ability as a player and one thing I’ll always back myself to do, perform under pressure.”
There is a clear edge to Genia’s ambition to perform because he feels a perception has been created that his game has drifted since mid-2013.
He did not mention being dropped by then-coach Ewen McKenzie but he did say he has become “more thickskinned”.
“Everyone started picking holes in my game and seemed to say my game was different but I don’t see that at all,” Genia said.
“I (am) mentally stronger from it and I think the World Cup experience of … Matt Giteau, Cliffy Palu, Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper is going to be big for us in England.
“You have to prepare for every game as if you are playing the best team in the world because the moment you drop a game you could be on the wrong side of the draw.”
These may be the last Tests I play so it is making it very easy to focus on giving everything