Will Genia looks set to miss Australia’s Test against England, with French club Stade Francais refusing to release him for the final Spring Tour clash.
The Twickenham matchup falls outside the November Test window, meaning the club has no obligation to release him and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said at this point they had denied the release but Australia wouldn’t give up just yet.
He travelled with the team to London on Sunday, but if the Wallabies' second request fails, he would return to Stade for their clash with Bayonne in the Top 14 this weekend.
“Right now, from their conversations we’ve had with Paris, they’re not releasing him. We’ll have another crack and see what we can do,” he said.
“It seems unlikely [that he will play], the French place more importance on their game for Will than our internationals, that’s the way the rules are and we’ll just have to deal with it.” - Michael Cheika
Cheika said the loss to Ireland hadn’t affected those negotiations, with the Wallabies not broaching the subject until after the game.
“Not at all. We didn’t ask until today or last night. We didn’t really ask – there’s no point in asking, just deal with the game in front of you. We asked last night after the game and that was the response they came back with," he said.
Genia’s absence would open the door for Nick Phipps to return to the starting halfback spot that he held in June when the 28-year-old was injured.
After June, Genia returned to feature in all of Australia's Rugby Championship clashes, before going back to France for the third Bledisloe, which fell outside the international window.
The halfback isn’t the only one in danger of missing the Test, with forward Dean Mumm cited overnight for a lifting tackle on Irish prop Tadhg Furlong.
Cheika said they wouldn’t be speculating on Mumm’s availability for the Test until after the verdict of his hearing was handed down.
“I don’t want to talk about it beforehand, I’ll talk about it afterwards because whatever you say here you don’t want it to be held against you when they come into the hearing. I just want to let the procedure pan out and then afterwards we can talk about it," he said.
Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Saturday, kicking off a 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIN Sport (Foxtel Channel 515).