Genia settling into French family life

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Quade Cooper might be heading back to Australia but Will Genia says he's settling into French life.

Despite an interrupted start to the year, Genia said he wasn’t considering coming home, a choice made easier with his wife, Vanessa and daughter Olivia, loving their adopted home.

“I don’t see myself leaving at all (this contract),” he said.

"Living over there’s amazing.

“From a rugby point of view, it’s quite a different style and philosophy but rugby’s rugby, I enjoy it and have fun and work hard.

“It’d be incredibly hard if she (Vanessa) wasn’t enjoying it. It’s been nice she’s been able to make friends with Aussies and Kiwi girls at the club.

‘I think it puts my mind at ease to know she’s happy and enjoying it - it’s the opportunity to live in Paris for three years of your life, something you wouldn’t usually be able to do.”

Will Genia is settled in France. Photo: ARU MediaAfter nine seasons of being one of the most high-profile players in Queensland rugby, Genia has relished the chance for a more anonymous existence.

“The thing I was looking forward to most about going over there is you don’t take rugby home with you,” he said.

“You’re not caught up in the bubble.

“Australian sport is massive and even though the market’s competitive and rugby’s not the most high-profile sport in Queensland, when you go out people recognise you.

“There (in France), you go train, work hard and then go home - that's one thing I really enjoy.”

Back in Australia rooming with James Slipper, Rob Simmons and Cooper it’s a relatively familiar scene for Genia, in an environment he has been keen to return to after playing just four matches for Stade Francais.

Genia kept himself relatively detached from the recent June series, watching highlights days after the games were played, but his desire to make a Test return has not waned, since the World Cup final.

“I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to potentially play more Tests,” he said.

“Last time I played against the All Blacks it was disappointing.

“To potentially to have the opportunity to play for Australia that's one thing that’s driven me to give myself the opportunity to contribute to the team on the field.”

Genia is one of three halfbacks in the current extended Wallabies squad, along with NSW’s Nick Phipps and former Queensland teammate Nick Frisby.