French Club blocks Genia's Wallaby release

by AAP

The Wallabies will be without star halfback Will Genia for their Spring Tour opener against Wales this weekend, after he was denied a release from French club Stade Francais.

Australia had hoped to have the in-form playmaker - one of the stars of the Rugby Championship this year - available for the showdown at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT) but News Corp Australia reports a request from coach Michael Cheika fell on deaf ears.

The 72-Test veteran qualifies for the Wallabies by comfortably clearing the 60-Test threshold for overseas-based players - but Stade Francais are under no obligation to release him outside the official international window and Cheika was unable to convince the French powerhouse to do so.
Will Genia says the Wallabies need more mental resolve. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyGenia will next rejoin the squad ahead of their clash with Scotland in Edinburgh, and will be available for the subsequent fixtures against Ireland and France, but may again be recalled by Stade Francais before their season-ending Test against England.

That would likely trigger further negotiations between the Wallabies, Genia and the French club - particularly if a rare chance at sealing the grand slam is still in play.

Wales faced a similar showdown, with high-profile backs George North and Jamie Roberts signed to English Premiership clubs who also didn't have to make allowances for the 'out-of-window' international fixtures.

However, that saga was resolved with Premier Rugby Limited agreeing to release the players 'as a gesture of flexibility'. In Genia's absence, Nick Phipps is likely to deputise in the No.9 jersey with Nick Frisby taking a place on the bench.

In other news, Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones will miss Saturday's (Sunday AEDT) Test against Australia following the death of his father, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) announced.
Jones, 31, had been a strong candidate to captain Wales in Cardiff following the withdrawal of Sam Warburton from the team due to injury.

"The thoughts and prayers of the WRU and the National Squad are with Alun Wyn Jones and his family following the passing of his father Tim," the WRU said in a statement.

"Due to this, Alun Wyn will not be considered for selection this weekend."

Tim Jones played for Swansea Rugby Club, in addition to Welsh Universities.

The Wallabies take on Wales this Sunday morning, 6 November from 1.30am AEDT on BeIn Sports Channel 513, as part of your FOXTEL subscription.