Will Genia happy to fly under the World Cup radar

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Ten seconds and a token question was all the involvement Wallabies halfback Will Genia had in his first official 2015 World Cup media commitment.

At the Wallabies’ official press conference on Wednesday night Australian time, it took some ribbing from teammate Matt Toomua for a token question to the halfback, “Are you excited about the tournament?”

It didn’t worry Genia much.

“I was trying to sit there to see how long it went before before I had to answer a question,” he joked.

“I was hoping to not answer any at all but Matty Toomua actually threw me under the bus.”

In a way, Genia has flown under the radar through Australia’s World Cup lead-up, playing just a half of rugby through the Rugby Championship and being injected off the bench in the Wallabies' match against the USA, after knee surgery.

As Nick Phipps and Nic White pushed their claims for the starting halfback spot, Genia was simply trying to pull his body together.

That he was selected over White shows the faith Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has in the 27-year-old to perform on the big occasions and Genia is determined to repay that.

After years as the undisputed Wallabies halfback and being close to the first picked for the Queensland Reds each week, Genia has had to overcome injury and poor form for his spot.

He said competing for a spot wasn't easy but it's something he has learned to embrace.

“At the end of the day you want to have a competitive environment as far as pushing each other to be better and I think that’s as far as it goes,” he said.

“You don’t sit there wanting blokes to play bad or not play well so you can gain advantage from that.

“I think that’s the one thing I’ve had to learn because for so long I was the starting number nine and then had to deal with adversities like injuries and then getting dropped and things like that.

“You realise it’s a collective effort, it’s a squad effort and I’m just really looking forward to playing my part whatever that may be.”

Rugby has become an entirely different pursuit for Genia this season, with the birth of daughter, Olivia, and it’s a welcome change for the Queenslander.

“I think it probably just puts rugby in its place as far as giving you perspective that it’s not the most important thing in the world anymore,” he said.

“If you think, live and breathe rugby all the time, you put so much pressure on yourself and I think that can weigh you down a bit,” he said.

Whereas when you’ve got things that are more important in life like your family, rugby just becomes something that’s instinctive again.

“(It’s) something that you go to as a release, something that you just enjoy.

“More often than not when you enjoy your rugby you play a lot better too.”

Now that he is in England, Genia is confident he can deliver a strong World Cup campaign.

‘The coaches have obviously shown a huge amount of faith and I feel like after the surgery the body’s feeling really, really good and mentally I feel like I’m in a good place,” he said.