Teething problems to be expected for Wallabies: Genia

The Rugby Championship
by Emma Greenwood

Will Genia says teething problems are to be expected for the Wallabies as they attempt to bed down their playing style ahead of the World Cup.

The veteran halfback, who will bid farewell to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, says Australia is "on track" for Japan as they continue to build momentum and find their best combinations in a limited Rugby Championship.

With two World Cup campaigns already under his belt, Genia is well positioned to assess the Wallabies' build up.

And while he said the squad was in a "different position" from 2015, there was belief that the dark days of last year were behind the team.

 

"We're in a different position (to 2015) in the sense that we're trying to do things differently from a game perspective," he said.

"It was really pleasing to see things come together the way that they did on the weekend.

"Obviously we didn't get the result which was disappointing but when you're trying things and doing things a different way, there's always going to be some teething problems but I think we're on track."

While Nic White started against the Springboks last week, Genia is likely to wear the no.9 in his final campaign at Suncorp Stadium.

And he expects plenty from the Pumas, who went within an ace of sweeping Australia last year but for a rousing second-half fightback in Salta.

After the Jaguares' Super Rugby campaign though, Genia is expecting an even tougher challenge on Saturday.

"I think (they're) a far better team. You look at Super Rugby and see how well the Jaguares played in getting to the final and holding the Crusaders to one try," he said.

"From a defensive perspective they're a very good team and also we know how they like to play with the ball, with a lot of flair.

"I think if you look at their last result, I think the All Blacks would count themselves a little bit lucky to come away with the win there, you'd probably expect them to get over from that maul more often than not.

"So they're going to be coming here with a lot of confidence which will make our job that much harder as well."

At the start of their campaign though, the Wallabies seem ripe for the picking, although Genia said they gained plenty from last week's clash against the Springboks, despite the result.

"We're at the start of our campaign, we've come off the back of trying some new things in the Test against the Boks and doing some really good things, so there's certainly a lot of confidence and commitment within the group about how we want to play and trying to implement those things further come Saturday and hopefully get a win," he said.

Certainly, Genia knows how important the match is.

"It's obviously important from the perspective that we've got to start building some momentum," he said.

"We spoke about it before the Test in South Africa. And not just momentum but building those combinations as far as who the boss sees playing at the World Cup.

"But in saying that, I think it's also important to realise that every Test match is important and significant and important in all of our careers.

"That prestige isn't lost on all of us going out for the game and obviously on the back of a loss last week we're hoping to get a result as well being here at home."

That's something Genia has learnt over the past decade.

The younger Genia thought wearing a gold jersey would last forever. But when he runs on to the Suncorp Stadium turf on Saturday night, Genia expects it to be an emotional occasion.

"Suncorp's always been my favourite place to play in all of world rugby and I've had some really good memories here from a team perspective and an individual perspective as well," he said.

"It'll be sad, no doubt but it'll also be exciting if I get the opportunity to get out there and give it one last crack."

Genia has made some special memories at Suncorp - beating the Springboks in his first run-on start in 2009; beating the All Blacks in 2011 in the final Tri Nations match and taking on the British and Irish Lions.

"There's been some good times here, some really good times," he said.

"You just never think it's going to end. You think you're always going to be coming back here playing in front of great crowds and wearing the gold jersey.

"It's not that you take it for granted, it's just that you're young and you don't understand that everything is finite and it will come to an end at some point.

"So I think the biggest thing for me this weekend, if I am lucky enough to be selected and play, is just to really enjoy it and be grateful for all the times that I've been able to play at this great stadium and all the great memories."

The Wallabies host the Pumas at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday July 27, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on Network Ten, Fox Sports, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

Buy tickets here.