Wallabies won't be underestimating Ireland: Genia

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Having started at halfback when Ireland last faced the Wallabies in the southern hemisphere - at the 2011 World Cup - Will Genia has vowed to never underestimate the Irish again.

The 15-9 loss at Eden Park shocked the nation and even though the Irish side featured several big names - Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Johnny Sexton, Tommy Bowe and Sean O'Brien, to name a few - Genia admits he underestimated their ability.

"I was probably ignorant back then," Genia said.

"Coming into this week you obviously can't underestimate them at all.

"They're obviously number two in the world but more than that the level of rugby they're playing and the style of rugby that they're playing - it's all about attrition to them.

"They like holding onto the ball and building phases, building pressure but then they've got Sexton, who can sit back in the pocket and plug a corner, (Conor) Murray with the box kicks who can put pressure on you in that sense."Will Genia admits he underestimated Ireland in 2011. Photo: AFPThe Wallabies have since faced the Irish three times in Dublin and have emerged victorious on just one occasion - in 2013.

That poor record, combined with their Grand Slam winning form, leaves the Australians with no illusions as to the challenge they face on Saturday night.

"I think people just know more - they know Sexton, they know Murray and all the big players that they have and the impact they have had at club level winning with Leinster and all that sort of stuff," Genia said.

"There is no chance of us underestimating them."

When Genia runs onto the Suncorp Stadium turf on Saturday it will mark a five week turnaround from the night he suffered a strained MCL against the Crusaders.

While he could have forced a return in the Rebels' win over the Blues the 30-year-old returns in tip top shape, having put extra kilometres into his legs in the lead up to the first Test of the year.

"I feel pretty good," he said.Genia will make his return from a knee injury on Saturday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"The biggest thing for me is just making sure I get the work done from a conditioning perspective.

"We've had a good couple of weeks just running, running and running.

"Now it's just about getting the footy down, finding some rhythm and getting good to go on Saturday."

He will square off with Ireland star Conor Murray, a halfback who boasts a rare 40 to 50 metre box kick in his arsenal.

Nullifying the impact both Murray and Sexton have in the kicking department will go a long way to a win on Saturday and Genia said the team had already analysed just how effective the Munster halfback can be when he puts boot to ball.

"He's a big guy and he's obviously a very good ball runner, he's very strong and can be physical in defence," Genia said.

"But obviously just he's tactical kicking - that's something he does very well - probably better than anyone else.

"He can put the ball exactly where he wants which creates a lot of pressure.

"If they get that back they can get 30, 40 metres on the front foot.

"It doesn't give you the chance to counterattack with guys like Izzy (Folau), guys like Dane (Haylett-Petty) or Marika (Koroibete).

"That's a big part of his game that we've spoken about and certainly have to address come game day."

The Wallabies take on Ireland in a three-Test June Series, kicking off on Saturday June 9 at 8pm AEST. Buy tickets here.