Horwill back as Reds skipper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Horwill back as Reds skipper

By Laine Clark 18/01/2011 06:45:15 PM Comments (0)

From the outside looking in, Will Genia appeared to thrive under the Queensland Reds captaincy.

So much so that Wallabies coach Robbie Deans acknowledged him as an option for the Test leadership role.

But Genia claimed filling in as Reds skipper had nothing to do with his stunning 2010 rise after officially handing the reins back to Wallabies lock James Horwill on Tuesday.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie confirmed Horwill would return as captain for the 2011 Super Rugby season after a knee reconstruction, with Genia his deputy.

Halfback Genia not only blossomed as Reds leader, so did his side - the perennial underachievers made plenty sit up and take notice with last season's surprise fifth place finish.

Genia admitted he was disappointed with losing the captaincy but believed it would not affect his 2011 form.

"I have a lot of respect for Ewen McKenzie as a person and a coach so ...it made the decision a lot easier to take," Genia said.

"It is not something that will bother me."

Asked if the Reds captaincy had helped lift his game in 2010, Genia said: "I really enjoyed it, but I don't think it played a role in me having a good season.

"And that's why I don't think it is something that will take away from my game.

"Obviously I was a little disappointed (losing the captaincy) but I think he deserved the job."

McKenzie said he had to show loyalty to Horwill, who had held the Reds reins since succeeding John Roe in 2009 before injuring his knee in just last season's second game.

But he did not rule out Genia captaining the Reds again.

"He did nothing wrong on or off the field - we have to show some loyalty," he said of Horwill.

"Will did a great job stepping in.

"But what do you want from a vice-captain when the captain is not on the field - you want him to step up and do the business and he did that very well.

"He picked up a lot of experience and kudos from that process and his captaincy days aren't finished at all - there will be opportunities as we go along."

While Genia led the Reds to rare new heights last season, McKenzie demanded more under 24-Test forward Horwill in 2011.

Apart from ditching Genia as captain, McKenzie also wanted to get rid of the Reds' underdog tag.

"We are certainly pleased with the progress we made, but we came fifth - we didn't make the finals," he said.

"So we have got to keep pushing on.

"We don't really want to be underdogs.

"We are not trying to sneak in through the back door.

"We want to be out there imposing ourselves, make sure we improve on where we were last year."

Horwill said Genia would still be an influential leader despite losing the captaincy.

"I am the first person to say how well Will did (as captain) ....(but) we need to work together as a leadership team," he said.

"You don't need a title next to your name to be a leader."

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