Genia out of cotton wool in Cardiff

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies halfback Will Genia didn’t mind watching on as his teammates put 60 points on Japan, but he's raring to go against a new-look Wales this weekend.

Genia was kept out of the Japan Test because of a minor calf strain, but said he was close to being able to pull on the boots for that match, before heading to the UK.

Australia has been cautious with the scrumhalf during training in a wet week in Wales, with Genia not completing every session, on a heavy deck.

He was in action on Thursday, though, his first full-blown training day in two weeks, on the astroturf at Cardiff Arms Park.

“I wanted to play against Japan but the boss said no,” Genia said.

“It's back to 100 per cent, so I'm just really looking forward to playing on Saturday.

“It's pretty tough when you have to sit back and watch training and then watch the games, but just try to contribute as much as I could in a positive way for the guys who were playing.”

Genia is not normally a fan of being on the sidelines, but watching his teammates carve up Japan was an easy afternoon as a spectator.

“Normally I find it quite hard but I enjoyed watching the game last week,” he said.

“It is quite tough but I thought the boys prepared really well and they went out there and put on a performance that was very entertaining to watch, so it was nice to sit back and watch them put 60 points on.”

While the Wallabies welcome back their first-choice scrumhalf in Genia, the 85-Test nine will not be facing off with his usual Wales counterpart, Rhys Webb.

Will Genia is fully fit for the Wales Tsst. Photo: Getty ImagesWebb will miss the game with injury, replaced by Gareth Davies in the Welsh lineup, but Genia said it wouldn’t change much for the Aussies.

“He’s very similar to Webb, he's a big guy, he carries very strong into contact, good service,” he said.

“He's a very good player and I think that him and Webb are very similar, so he'll bring the same threat as we're expecting if Webb was to play.”

Wales have switched up their attack, naming dual playmakers in the 10-12 channel for the first time in recent memory, while Australia have done the opposite in retaining Samu Kerevi at 12.

Genia said the decision would make the game more dynamic, though he didn’t think more ball movement would necessarily spell a big shift away from the traditional strengths of their northern opponents.

“For them, it’s something different, because they've been used to having (Jonathan) Davies and Jamie Roberts in the centres and (Leigh) Halfpenny at the back, probably plays more of a role on the edge of the attack,” he said.

“It'll paint us a different picture in terms of their threats. 

“Having a second ball player for them will bring the outside guys more into the game with a little bit more ball movement but I guess it's no different to, say, playing the All Blacks in terms of the threats we're going to see.”

The Wallabies take on Wales on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 5:15pm local, Sunday 4:15am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sport and SBS.