Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and Australia scrumhalf Will Genia have both joined an all-star Africa Pacific Dragons coaching staff for this weekend’s World Club 10s in Mauritius.
Meyer, 48, arrived on Wednesday and will be the team’s technical advisor, having led South Africa to third place in last year’s Rugby World Cup in his fourth year in charge of the Springboks.
Genia, who has won 66 caps for the Wallabies, is the team’s backs coach and has happily returned to the training pitch after an injury-plagued first season with Stade Francais in Paris.
Steve Jackson, a Blues assistant coach and North Harbour head coach, is the squad’s head coach, while Tonga stalwart Hale T-Pole is the team manager, having played his second Rugby World Cup last year.
Genia, 28, is arguably the most famous of the quartet, having been a Wallabies regular since 2009 and a key player as Australia reached the final of last year’s Rugby World Cup, his second.
After a frustrating few months with injury, Genia is delighted to be part of the second World Club 10s in ‘paradise island’.
“It’s my first time in Mauritius, a place I’ve always wanted to come. I’m fortunate that rugby brings us to pretty special places so this happens to be one of them,” said Genia.
“The organisers were kind enough to invite me along and put me in touch with the APDs, so I’m really excited to be here and looking forward to it. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
Genia’s charges include former scrumhalf rival Jimmy Cowan, who won 51 caps for New Zealand and will supply ball for compatriots Stephen Brett, Cardiff Vaega and Viliame Waqaseduadua, Kenya Sevens star Billy Odhiambo, and South African wingers Tonderai Chavhanga and Shane Spring.
“I’ve had a few good chats with Jimmy. He’s the sort of bloke who’s real competitive, who likes to get stuck in, so it’s pretty good to be on his side this time around,” Genia said.
“We’ve also got guys contracted to clubs all over the world, guys who have been given an opportunity to come and showcase their talents. It’s special to get that blend of players from around the world and show that true spirit of rugby, which is to enjoy the game and make lifelong friends.”
Before moving to France, Genia played eight seasons of Super Rugby for the Reds so is very familiar with the Sharks, one of the APDs’ Pool B opponents along with English champions Saracens and French invitational side Euskadi.
“I know a few of the Sharks guys,” he said. “They’ve brought over a few experienced campaigners and a few young guys as well. They’re pretty familiar in terms of the fact they’re a Super Rugby team, so it’ll be good.”
The Brumbies, whose squad includes 15 Super Rugby players, are the tournament favourites and will play in Pool A with fellow Australian franchise Western Force, French giants RC Toulon and the Italian All Stars.
World Club 10s, Anjalay Stadium, Mauritius; June 18-19, 2016:
Time (18/06) Pool Match
10:00-10:24 A RC Toulon (France) v Brumbies (Australia)
10:24-10:48 A Italian All Stars v Western Force (Australia)
10:48-11:12 B Sharks (South Africa) v Africa Pacific Dragons
11:12-11:36 B Euskadi (France) v Saracens (England)
13:12-13:36 A RC Toulon (France) v Italian All Stars
13:36-14:00 A Brumbies (Australia) v Western Force (Australia)
14:00-14:24 B Sharks (South Africa) v Euskadi (France)
14:24-14:48 B Africa Pacific Dragons v Saracens (England)
16:48 - 17:12 A Italian All Stars v Aquis Brumbies (Australia)
17:12-17:36 A Western Force (Australia) v RC Toulon (France)
17:36-18:00 B Euskadi (France) v Africa Pacific Dragons
18:00-18:24 B Saracens (England) v Sharks (South Africa)