The pecking order: Halfbacks

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Will Genia has had a monopoly on the starting halfback job under Michael Cheika's reign.

Rightfully so, as he is still a world class option at the scrum base, but that leaves one obvious question.

With Genia overseas, who is the best Australian halfback plying his trade in Super Rugby?

Here's how the pecking order shapes up ahead of the June Test series.

1. Will Genia

He's playing for the Barbarians on May 28 but that should still give him plenty of time to prepare for the Wallabies' first Test against Fiji on June 10.

Genia's form hasn't dipped at Stade Francais so if he's fit and healthy, expect to see him run out with the number nine on his back come June.

2. Jake Gordon

Perhaps the best compliment of all is reports out of New Zealand indicate the Kiwis rate Gordon higher than any other Australian nine.

Gordon is sharp off the mark, allowing him to snipe around breakdowns and create opportunities for his teammates.

He also has a near perfect pass and an element of unpredictability.

Add that to a booming box kick and you have a player that is a genuine chance of earning his first cap come June.

3. Joe Powell

Has been playing behind the best forward pack in Australia all season which certainly helps.

But given this is his first extended crack as the first choice halfback at the Brumbies, Powell has delivered on his potential.

Has just as good a pass as Gordon but not quite the running game.

4. James Tuttle

Has quietly been among the Reds best since making the starting job his own in against the Jaguares in round five.

Nick Frisby has been off his game in 2017 but he's a quality player and Tuttle has not allowed him a look in since assuming the top job in Queensland.

The young halfback is vocal around the park and has a knack of breaking the line as well.

His pass isn't quite as zippy as those above him, though it is not a hindrance to Queensland's attack.

5. Nic Stirzaker

Is currently sidelined with an ankle injury though he should be right by June.

Tough going behind a pack that is consistently beaten but still in decent form considering the Rebels' woeful form.

6. Nick Frisby

Has fallen out of favour at Ballymore after a breakout 2016, and was the only one of last year's young Wallabies debutants 

Hard to imagine he will feature in Michael Cheika's 23 given he can't get a start ahead of Tuttle.