Genia given one more week on the sideline

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

The Rebels have opted to give Will Genia one more week on the sideline before the Wallabies' June Series, leaving him out of their side to face the Blues.

Genia suffered a knee injury in the Rebels' loss to the Crusaders, and was expected to be a chance to play against the Blues in this last Super Rugby game before June, but Melbourne and the Wallabies decided it was 'in the best interests of Australian rugby' to sideline the halfback.

The move means the first-choice Test halfback won't have played in a month when the first Test rolls around, but that is not something that worries the national staff.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels said Michael Ruru's performances had made that call easier as well.

Will Genia will miss the Africa trip. Photo: Getty Images“We had constructive discussion with the Wallabies coaches and decided in the best interests of Australian rugby that it was better to give Willy (Genia) another week off to ensure he’s 100% ready for the June Tests," he said.

“But the decision was obviously made easier by the fact that Michael Ruru has been in such good form lately. We’re looking forward to the challenge this weekend.”

Wessels has omitted Wallabies squad member Sefa Naivalu from the squad for the clash, while debutant Pone Faamausili has also missed selection.

The Rebels will welcome back flanker Ross Haylett-Petty and tighthead Jermaine Ainsley for the clash, in a boost for their forward

"It’s great to have Ross (Haylett-Petty) coming back in," he said.

"He trained really well this week and effectively forced us to pick him. He gives us flexibility in the back five and is obviously fit and powerful. We look forward to seeing his impact.”

Sefa Naivalu knows there's going to be tough competition. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyWessels said the side was focusing on converting their strong starts into strong finishes when it hit Auckland, after some fadeouts this season.

"We’ve worked hard over the last couple of weeks on our ability to finish games strongly – this is due in large part to the work our conditioning staff have put into the team as well as the impressive impact our bench has made in recent weeks," he said.

"They’ve come on and really wanted to rattle the cage."

The Rebels have never beaten the Blues in Auckland, with their last win over the Kiwi side coming in 2015 in Melbourne.

The Rebels take on the Blues in Auckland on Saturday evening, kicking off at 5:15pm local, 3:15pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

TEAM

IN: Jermaine Ainsley, Ross Haylett-Petty

OUT: Pone Faamausili, Sefa Naivalu

Rebels to face the Blues

1. Fereti Sa’aga

2. Anaru Rangi

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Matt Philip

5. Adam Coleman (capt.)

6. Angus Cottrell

7. Colby Fainga’a

8. Amanaki Mafi

9. Michael Ruru

10. Reece Hodge

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Billy Meakes

13. Tom English

14. Jack Maddocks

15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves

16. Jordan Uelese

17. Ben Daley

18. Sam Talakai

19. Geoff Parling

20. Ross Haylett-Petty

21. Harrison Goddard

22. Tayler Adams

23. Lopeti Timani