Genia still a "true believer" in Wallabies' World Cup chances

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Will Genia knows what post-defeat positivity will sound like to angry fans but the Wallabies halfback says he is still a “true believer” when it comes to their World Cup chances.

Genia’s not the type to shut off his social media after a defeat afraid of what fans are saying, even in a lean run that has yielded just three wins from 11 Tests in 2018.

The Wallabies were generally optimistic despite their first loss to Wales in a decade and Genia the positivity wasn’t just fluff.

“You look at this (Wales) game, 9-6 right, it was a genuine Test match,” he said.

“The defence of both teams was excellent.

“They just managed to take their opportunities a bit more with us probably being a little bit ill-disciplined but there’s a lot of positives we can build on again.

“People are going to think, “You’re preaching but whatever you lost” but that is the truth.

“We’ll go away, work hard and look to get a result this week and build into that England week.”

Asked about the resilience required to turn this season into a winning World Cup, Genia said he had every confidence in the side.

“Yes. I’m a true believer,” he said.

“I love this team, I love everything it represents.

“I love the fact that we feel like we’re growing in that belief as a group. We’re working hard on things that are important in terms of consistency, effort and excellence during training.

“I’ll believe until the end, 100 per cent.”

Genia’s unwavering confidence is not to be mistaken for a disregard for fans, though, whose sentiment he senses despite being unflinched by their criticism.

“As much as we play for the jersey, ourselves and what we’re trying to represent we also play for the fans because they’re a big part of the game,” he said.

“We do understand their frustration. All I’ll say is that all the hurt they’re feeling, we feel that too.

“We’re never satisfied with a loss. We’re the ones out there trying to put in a performance to make them proud. As disappointed as they are, we feel that tenfold.

“We’re in a position to try and rectify that and I can promise you we try to do that every day at training and when we play on game day.

“The effort can never be questioned and the passion for the fans as well.”

Genia said the Wallabies attack felt ‘disjointed’ in Cardiff but that was in large part because of the Welsh defence, which didn’t allow Australia much freedom.

His comment comes after Wales coach Warren Gatland said post-match that it was the most comfortable he’s ever felt defending against the Wallabies.

“I thought our defence was really good,” he said.

“We were probably a little bit disjointed in terms of the attack but if I’m honest you’ve got to give credit to their defence as well, they slowed our ball down, they did really well to pressure us at the breakdown and that’s what probably led to the attack being a little bit disjointed, which is frustrating, very frustrating.

“We’re in shape it’s just when you’re expecting the game to flow a little bit more you can get your timing, you can hold your depth … but because it’s … we didn’t really get too much flow in the game which is why it felt a little bit disjointed.”

Whether Genia will be a part of their redemption effort in Italy remains to be seen, with an intriguing selection debate for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in Padova.

There was a school of thought that Cheika would rest a host of his top-flight players for the Italy clash after a long season, opening the door for uncapped duo Jordan Petaia and Jake Gordon and returning veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Their loss to Wales only makes the Italy match more significant in the bigger picture, though, adding some intrigue to the selection battle.

"That’s just a decision for the boss," Genia said.

"Whatever he wants to do, we just roll with it and we work hard in whatever respective role we’re given, whether it’s starter, bench, non 23 whatever that is."

The Wallabies take on Italy in Padova on Saturday November 17, 3pm local, Sunday 1am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports Fox channel 513 and SBS.