Genia cleared for Brisbane

2011-08-26 08:01
Will Genia (File)

Brisbane - Influential scrumhalf Will Genia has been cleared to play for the Wallabies in the Tri-Nations' decider against New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.

Genia, who organises the Wallaby attack alongside Reds flyhalf and team-mate Quade Cooper, received two heavy head blows during training this week, but said on Friday he has been passed by team medical staff.

"It’s not something too serious. I got a head knock (on Tuesday) and I felt a little bit foggy at training yesterday," Genia told reporters.

"I pulled out towards the end because I felt a bit off. I got another knock but it was just a shock really. All the signs (now) look good."

Genia said the Wallabies, so often second-best to the All Blacks, were in a unique position this weekend.

"We really want to win this tournament. We haven't won it in 10 years. We're in a very unique position in whoever wins this game wins the tournament," he said.

New skipper James Horwill said the Wallabies' focus was solely on winning their first Tri-Nations tournament since 2001 and not on next month's World Cup.

It is the last Test match for the two rivals before the World Cup, and victory will provide a big psychological edge for the battles ahead in New Zealand.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing against, the focus hasn't really been on the World Cup at all this week," said Horwill, a lock forward, who replaced Rocky Elsom last week as Wallabies' captain.

"There's been nothing sort of mentioned on it. It's about the Tri-Nations.

"This is a massive tournament and it's probably the biggest tournament in the world, bar what is happening in a World Cup year, so it's a big tournament for us."

Form suggests New Zealand will maintain their dominance over the Wallabies and enhance their status as World Cup favourites.

Richie McCaw's All Blacks have won 11 of their last 12 encounters with Australia and are shooting for their 11th crown in 16 seasons of the southern hemisphere championship.

New Zealand have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and have not lost in Australia for over three years.

And the Wallabies appear to struggle in Brisbane, where they have not conquered the All Blacks for 19 years.

Graham Henry, who enjoys a stunning 85 percent success rate in his 95 Tests and seven years in charge of the All Blacks, is taking no chances and has rolled out their heavy artillery with 11 first-choice stars returning for the decider.

Henry almost lost his job after the All Blacks' shock quarter-final exit at the 2007 World Cup to France.

But he has the upper hand over his New Zealand compatriot and rival Robbie Deans, who became Australia coach after the last World Cup in France.

All looked promising for Deans when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in their first Bledisloe Cup Test under him in 2008, but they lost their next 10 meetings before a last-minute 26-24 win in Hong Kong on October 30 last year.

The Wallabies have been extensively rebuilt under Deans since their demoralising quarter-final exit to England at the 2007 World Cup in Marseille.

But there have been distractions to team preparation's this week amid player disciplinary problems.

Winger James O'Connor is ineligible to play after receiving a one-game ban for missing last week's Wallaby World Cup squad announcement and a 10-month-old tour incident between O'Connor, Cooper and Kurtley Beale was also under scrutiny.

The Australian Rugby Union said it found no grounds to take action against the three young backs, who were reportedly involved in a fight in the days before the side scored a record 59-16 win over France in Paris last November.

Read more on:    tri-nations  |  will genia

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