The Wallabies are confident Will Genia will be right to go for the opening June Test Series, assistant coach Stephen Larkham says.
Genia strained the medial ligament in his knee against the Crusaders, with the Rebels confirming he would miss their next three matches, but likely be in the mix for the first June Test.
Asked whether the national side was expecting to have him for the opener, Larkham was unequivocal.
“I’m 100 per cent confident that he'll be right to go,” he said.
“Without putting a time frame, I think there's a chance he'll play some Super Rugby before he gets to Test season but we'll have to wait and see how that's progresses.
“Willy....knows how to get right for matches and I'm 100 per cent confident he'll be right for that first Test in June.
Any possible Genia absence would be a headache for the Wallabies, with the Rebels’ nine the standout halfback in Australia.
His long-time backup, Nick Phipps, has had a frustrating start to the year, with injuries, only earning his first start of the season this weekend.
That limited game time didn’t worry Larkham though, with the assistant happy with the selection of scrumhalves available.
“He's quite an experienced player, he's constantly working on his game, there's no doubt about that,” he said.
“He's conscious of the things he needs to work on in his game.
“I'm comfortable with the role he's playing at the moment with the Waratahs and I'm sure over the next couple of weeks he'll get a bit more of an opportunity which will put him in good stead for the June Tests.”
Outside of Phipps, Larkham pointed to Genia’s Melbourne understudy, Michael Ruru, as a contender for the Test squad.
New Zealand-born Ruru is eligible to play for the Wallabies, and was being floated as a possible development player on last year’s Spring Tour after a standout NRC campaign with the Perth Spirit.
“There's a number of young halfbacks coming through at the moment, so I think if you look for experience, you'd be looking at Nick Phipps as the stand-in guy there and Michael Ruru's probably the next oldest in terms of age, experience but the other two have a little bit of room around June are Jake Gordon and Joe Powell,” he said.
The Wallabies take on Ireland in the 2018 June Series, kicking off in Brisbane on June 9. Buy tickets here.