Genia pads up for return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Genia pads up for return

By David Beniuk 24/11/2010 03:44:43 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies halfback Will Genia will wear special padding to protect his injured ribs in his likely return to the starting line-up for Saturday night's (0645 Sunday AEDT) Test against France.

Genia has been wearing the protective guard at training since suffering the cartilage problem in the loss to England at Twickenham two weekends ago.

The 22-year-old spent the entire match against Italy on the Australian bench while Luke Burgess wore the No.9 jersey.

The NSW Waratahs halfback had one of his best games for Australia in the 32-14 victory but, with coach Robbie Deans insistent he is picking the best available side each week, Genia is almost certain to play in the season-ending clash with the Six Nations champions.

"When you're playing, you don't really think about it too much and feel it, but (the padding is) just so it's protected and after the game it's not too sore from the bumps and bruises," Genia said.

Genia is likely to be one of two changes to the starting side, with winger James O'Connor back in the squad following his dash home.

O'Connor's replacement in Florence, Lachie Turner, should return to the bench with Pat McCabe, who made a brief Test debut against the Azzurri, dropping out of the 22.

Genia was keen to play against Italy, but Deans has said his stint among the reserves was a good example of how he hopes players are managed in the lead-up to next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

"It was a tough pill to swallow not playing last week but, having had a chat to (Robbie), he said he wanted to freshen me up," Genia said.

"It's probably better for not having played ... but for this week's game I'll be pretty much back to a hundred per cent."

Genia and Burgess offer Deans a huge contrast at halfback. The Queenslander is all smooth service and nimble feet, while the less consistent Burgess bustles opponents in attack and defence.

"We get together a lot," Genia said.

"As both scrum halves for the side, we work together on looking at weaknesses that we think as halfbacks we can expose and things we need to work on in our game.

"He's probably a little more direct than I am, he likes to really back himself, back his running game and have a go.

"I probably like to play a little bit more."

Genia is widely seen as a Wallabies captain in waiting, a position the Australian hierarchy admitted he was considered for before this international season, but he has scoffed at those suggestions.

"I laugh at them," he said.

"I think Rocky (Elsom) is an outstanding captain, he's definitely grown into the role of being the leader of the group and he's doing an excellent job.

"(I) don't really think about it too much, or not at all."

Genia is a chance of continuing as Queensland captain when the man he replaced, James Horwill, returns from injury for the 2011 Super Rugby season.

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