Genia in talks with Reds, focused on Tests


Veteran halfback Will Genia says the excitement of being back with the Wallabies will be enough to get him up for the June Tests after a long European season.

The 29-year-old is in Melbourne ahead of Australia’s first Test of the year against Fiji at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.

Genia was part of Stade Francais’ European Challenge Cup triumph last month but has returned to Australia to play Test rugby and also to reignite his Super Rugby career.

Genia confirmed on Monday he was continuing talks with the Queensland Reds and the Australian Rugby Union and hoped to get a deal done soon.

He said he would return to Paris rather than play with another Super Rugby club but was pleased the intent was there from all parties in Australia to make it happen.

He admits he’s tired, but Genia has put his hand up to play in all three June Tests, with matches against Scotland and Italy to follow.

“Being in and around the guys is quite refreshing in itself so I’m really looking forward to these three weeks,” Genia said.

“On the back of a long season I’m a little bit fatigued but the excitement levels being a part of the national set-up gets you through.

“You can be as tired as ever but when you’re called in to represent your country there’s no bigger honour and there’s nothing more exciting.”

Waratahs halfback Jake Gordon has emerged in Genia’s absence, called into the Test squad to replace his injured NSW teammate Nick Phipps.

Brumbies’ Joe Powell is also in the squad as the form Australian Super Rugby No.9. Genia said he hadn’t watched any Super Rugby as he didn’t have a television in Paris but he was aware of their talents.

“I’ve heard they’ve been playing really, really well and Joey Powell in particular has had a really good season so it’s going to be a good competition for the three of us to see who gets the game days spots in the 23 and I think it will be good for us to be pushing each other,” Genia said.

After two years in Paris the 75-Test veteran said he still wanted to contribute to Australian rugby.

“The hunger and the driver to come back and contribute to Australian rugby is well and truly alive in me,” he said.

“If I didn’t think I could make a difference I wouldn’t come back.”