Goddard in line for South Africa trip

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Junior Wallabies halfback Harrison Goddard could be on the plane to South Africa with the Rebels this week, as they await news on Will Genia’s hamstring injury.

Genia pulled up sore in the 50th minute of their loss to the Jaguares, with the halfback set to undergo scans to determine the severity of the injury.

Genia’s back-up, Michael Ruru, would be the first in line to replace Genia, with Goddard the third halfback in the squad.

His availability is complicated somewhat by his inclusion in the Australia U20s squad for the Oceania Championship in a fortnight’s time. 

Rebels coach Dave Wessels said though they wouldn’t want to take Goddard away from his junior national duties, he would be on the plane if Genia wasn’t.

“We're fortunate that we have “Godsy’ and ‘Godsy’ has Super Rugby experience and he's trained really well over the last little while” Wessels said post-match.

“The challenge we have is we want him to play for Australia, because  he's got the opportunity to play with the U20s.

“That's something we’ve got to wrestle between is giving the players who've been selected for the Australia 20s the right to play there and also if we need them for Rebels

“There's a bit of a balancing act there (but) if Will is ruled out, we will take Harrison with us.”

Harrison Goddard could be heading to South Africa. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile Genia’s fitness is a major concern, Wessels was more frustrated by his backline’s lack of intensity across the park against the Jaguares

“I thought the forwards were really good, (but) I put a bit of pressure on the backs when we were in the changing rooms because I just thought there were moments where the backs didn't play with the intensity the forwards did at times and that's the challenge of Super Rugby,” he said.

A 14-9 penalty count put the Rebels on the back foot as well, with ‘lazy’ errors costing them, Wessels said.

“One of the things that is letting us down is penalties,” he said.

“The penalties are lazy, they're not skill errors.

"The backs just getting lazy, not retreating half a metre offside.

“When the penalty count is 14-9 in those conditions, that's the difference.

“What do you think's going to happen? It’s frustrating that so many of those moments are just lazy moments.”

Rebels skipper Adam Coleman eschewed a chance to try and draw the game in the final moments, instead opting for a scrum after a penalty advantage, but said he had no regrets about the decision.

“I don't feel it was like that last play that lost us the game,” he said.

“There were periods of the game lacking intensity, effort errors that really let us down and ill-discipline.

“Two areas we were pretty poor in and in turn we fell short.”

The Rebels will travel to South Africa next week ahead of a clash with the Bulls.