Rugby Championship

Genia backs overseas-based players

2016-09-07 11:13
Will Genia (Gallo Images)

Sydney - Scrumhalf Will Genia has defended Australia's selection of overseas-based players, saying they deserved to be in the squad.

Genia (28) has been the first-choice scrum-half during the Rugby Championship after missing the June series against England due to a knee injury.

Coach Michael Cheika initially included four overseas-based Wallabies in his squad, but only two remain after Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper returned to their clubs, the former having broken his ankle in the first Test against New Zealand.

Genia and Drew Mitchell are the only two players left in the squad who don't play in Super Rugby.

"Apparently we're too old, too slow and don't have anything to offer," Genia told AAP.

"That's just people's opinions at the end of the day. People speak about us bringing back experience but we've got to be playing well enough to be selected so we can contribute to the team.

"If the coaches and selectors didn't think we were good enough we wouldn't be here."

Genia's return has forced Nick Phipps to the bench while Nick Frisby, his former protege at the Queensland Reds, widely seen as the next long-term Wallaby number nine, hasn't played since the England series.

Genia was among the stronger performers in Australia's two Bledisloe Cup defeats and proved he still has some of his pace with an eye-catching late break against the All Blacks in Wellington.

"I had a good seven months off before playing that first game and my knee feels really good," he said.

"Physically and mentally I feel like I'm in a good space, I'll just keep trucking along. I feel like I'm going alright but at the end of the day, we've still come up short."

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