Lions in Australia

Target me at your peril: Genia

2013-06-21 15:00
Will Genia (AFP)

Brisbane - Dazzling scrumhalf Will Genia on Friday warned the British and Irish Lions that shutting him down would only open up other attacking options as Australia look to seize the initiative in this weekend's first Test.

Genia looms as one of the biggest threats to the Lions, who are rumoured to be planning to shut down his avenues of attack in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday. But the 41-cap Genia said Warren Gatland's team should think again.

"Having watched the Lions in the last few weeks there hasn't been too much space around that ruck area," Genia told a press conference.

"If that's the case then obviously there has to be space somewhere else, so it's just about identifying the right times and taking the right opportunities when they present themselves.

"You just have to deal with that in the game but at the end of the day I'm just one player and if all the attention is on me then there is going to be opportunities elsewhere and I just have to look to give other blokes opportunities."

Genia also said he has worked on building trust and understanding with rookie flyhalf James O'Connor after his regular Reds number 10 Quade Cooper was controversially passed over for selection, even going to the lengths of sharing a room with his new halves partner.

"We're rooming together. We've made a big effort to make sure we've built bonds within the group and with a nine and ten combination you have to do that so you have a trust and a good understanding in each other," he said.

"We've worked hard on that off the field but importantly we've worked hard on developing that combination on the training field.

"It's about understanding how he wants the ball, when he wants the ball, where he wants it and him understanding how I want to play.

"We've been fortunate that we played together in 2011 two Tests against the Barbarians and Wales so we have a little background together. I am really excited about playing with him on Saturday."

Genia said having debutant Christian Lealiifano at inside centre gives the Wallabies another ball player in the backline.

"Christian's big strength is that he can run good lines, he can be very physical, but he's a very creative player," he said.

"He can get the ball in hand and has a really good passing game and with Berrick Barnes at fullback it gives us another couple of playmakers, guys who can step up when James gets held up in rucks and things like that.

He said he has also been impressed with another of the Wallabies' three debutants, former Australian Rules footballer and rugby league international Israel Folau, in the team's training camp.

"He's taken to rugby a lot quicker and a lot better than a lot of people thought (he would)," Genia said of Folau, who will play on the wing.

"He's an incredible athlete. You can see that in the way he can get up and catch high balls. He's quick, he's fast, he's strong.

"To be honest, I'm just really happy that he's in our team because he does provide a bit of 'X factor'. You know he's going to create something from nothing, he's that sort of player."

He added that winning the opening Test in the three-match series would be a massive psychological boost for the Wallabies, who lost the Lions opener in 2001 but then came back to win 2-1.

"In terms of the series the first game is huge. If we can play well and assert ourselves on the game and win it sets us up for the series really well," he said.

Read more on:    australia  |  lions in oz  |  will genia  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


The Wallaby v British & Irish Lions series is tied at 1-1 heading into the final Test in Sydney on Saturday. Who do you foresee taking series honours?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.