Sydney - Australia scrumhalf Will Genia felt "embarrassed" to be
picked in the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup squad ahead of Nic White and has
pledged to make his spurned team-mate proud.
Genia played only half a game this season before suffering a knee injury
against South Africa last month, but there was little doubt the 27-year-old
playmaker would be on the plane if fit for the global showpiece in England.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has selected only two specialist scrumhalves,
with Waratah Nick Phipps retained despite a poor game in the rare win over the
world champion All Blacks in Sydney.
Brumbies scrumhalf White was the unlikely hero in the Wallabies' win, booting
a long-range penalty and scoring the winning try off the bench to help seal
victory in the abridged Rugby Championship.
White started against the All Blacks at Eden Park last week but came
crashing back to earth as the Wallabies were belted 41-13.
Moments after the 31-man squad was unveiled in Sydney on Friday, Genia
texted White to pass on his commiserations.
"I said: 'Look mate, I feel a bit embarrassed because I haven't played
much footy and you played really well with your match-winning cameo against the
All Blacks off the bench,'" Genia told reporters.
"I said to him: 'I promise you I'll do my best to make you proud.' I
think he appreciated it. He sent me a message back."
A member of Australia's 2011 World Cup squad, the Papua New Guinea-born
27-year-old has not played his best rugby over the last few years due to a
succession of knee injuries, but is a proven match-winner when fit.
He may be pivotal to the Wallabies' hopes of breaking out of the 'pool of
death' which includes Wales, England and Fiji.
"I'm ready to play now," he said. "I'm back to full fitness
and I'm really looking forward to getting another opportunity to get out there
and just play some rugby. It's been a while.
"I guess I'm fortunate enough that I've played for the Wallabies for a number
of years now and in the last World Cup, so I don't think there's pressure in
"The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself to perform. I
don't want to let my team-mates down, let Australia down.
"I'll work hard to make sure that when I go out there to play that I'll
be ready to play as hard as I can."