Genia feels "fortunate" to be cleared for Waratahs clash

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels halfback Will Genia admits he is “fortunate” to be playing this weekend after a brutal head knock against the Sunwolves.

Genia was taken off just before half-time in Tokyo after the side of his head connected with the shin of Sunwolves centre Phil Burleigh.

The 31-year-old remained on the ground for minutes as medical staff attended to him before he eventually walked off.

Genia admitted that he had suffered blurred vision after the incident but his memory was intact and he had passed all his return to play tests during the week.

“The funny thing is I remember everything,” he said.

“From the moment that I went off the field I had crazy blurred vision and everything didn't look right but my memory was completely fine.

“I remember everything that happened in the first half, I'd remember the play that led up to getting knocked out and everything like that so that was obviously a positive sign as well.”

Will Genia suffered a head knock against the Sunwolves. Photo: Getty ImagesFormer Wallaby Justin Harrison questioned the decision to play Genia after seeing the incident.

“I'm really surprised he's playing. I can not see how he's managed to pass a concussion test being clearly knocked out and spasming with his hand on the field,” he said on Rugby Nation.

“He had major trauma to the side of his head from a knee, blunt force to the side temple and I just feel that's just really going to have some hairs on it if he's playing this soon after a major significant spark out.”

With just a six-day turnaround between matches, Genia admitted even he was surprised to be cleared to play but said it ultimately came down to luck.

“It’s actually pretty surprising - I had a good chat to the doc about it and he said it depends on each individual, how you recover and the slightest little bump can cause symptoms for weeks and then a big knock like the one that happened to me can be not as long-lasting,” he said.

“I'm pretty fortunate and pretty grateful that it's not had a severe impact in the sense I can obviously run around and play this Friday as well.”

Genia’s availability is pivotal for the Rebels as they prepare for Friday night’s derby against the Waratahs, with a chance to cement themselves in Super Rugby’s top eight with two rounds to go.

The Rebels have conceded early leads in their past two encounters with the Waratahs and Genia pointed to NSW’s run of single-figure results this season as evidence of their quality.

“I heard Michael Hooper speak in their press conference saying that when they look up at the clock at about 70 minutes the game's always in the balance and I guess it's a credit to them because they are a very good team,” he said.

“First of all, it's about having respect for them and having some humility.

“That obviously shows in the way we prepare and we've had a really good week in preparation thus far.

“I think if you look back at across the last three times we've played them, we've gone into half-time with quite a handy lead and they've come out and adapted really well to the situation and played some good rugby in the second half and again to their credit it's because they are a good team.

“We've just got to make sure that when they get momentum, we understand how to  wrestle that back.”

A win on Friday night would put the Rebels one step closer to that finals berth and also make them the most successful team in Melbourne history, with a record eight wins for the season.

It's milestones like that which Genia says are adding to his own motivation.

"I remember when I was back at the Reds, little bits of history like that were things that would drive us to compete and compete well," he said.

"I think in the next three games we have an opportunity to either win once or all three of them .

"We can be the most successful rebels team in history.

"From an individual perspective, that's something that really drives me.

"You want to come somewhere, make a difference, make change and if we can be a part of a side that is considered the most successful team then I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in this Friday but also the next couple of weeks."

The Rebels host the Waratahs on Friday May 31 at AAMI Park, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.