Sydney - Wallabies linchpin Will Genia is set to re-sign with the Australian
Rugby Union this week and is eying a shock playing return in
Queensland's opening home blockbuster against NSW in February.
According to stuff.co.nz website, and his Reds and Wallabies halves partner, Quade Cooper, is expected
to continue their highly-successful combination in 2013.
In news which will deeply hearten Australian and Queensland rugby
fans, Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael on Monday confidently declared
Genia and Cooper would join forces again at Ballymore.
Clouds have hovered over the sidelined duo in the past fortnight as
both had failed to re-sign with the ARU despite agreeing to new
three-year Queensland deals mid-year.
While Cooper is currently at the centre of a code of conduct
investigation following his recent criticism of the Wallabies and the
code, Genia's future is set to be finalised in the coming days.
Carmichael said the 41-Test halfback, currently in rehabilitation
mode following a knee reconstruction last month, was now looking forward
to a big 2013 for Australia and the Reds - four days after Genia
admitted he was on the open market.
The news is a major boost for the Wallabies with the British and Irish Lions touring next year.
The pair has been Australia's most potent playmaking duo of the past
three years - leading the Reds to the Super Rugby title and Wallabies
to the Tri Nations trophy in 2011.
"I don't think there was ever any time where Will didn't want to be
in Australia because otherwise he wouldn't have re-signed with the
Reds," Carmichael said.
"He's got a little bit of a spring in his one step and he's even
champing at the bit about coming back for our first home game against
the Waratahs (on February 23).
"If anyone can come back from that injury faster than normal it's Will."
"He tells me he's a little bit ahead of schedule and he's hoping."
Carmichael had little doubt Cooper would also be in Australian rugby
despite former Wallabies coach John Connolly calling for the
controversial five-eighth to be banned for a year for claims of a toxic
culture and criticism of the Wallabies style of play.
The Reds boss said Cooper's desire to continue to play for Australia remained high.
Reports in The Australian newspaper suggest the 38-Test playmaker
will be slugged with a fine for his comments which will reduce the size
of a new ARU deal.