Welsh have Genia in their sight for Test
Wallabies halfback Will Genia will obviously have a No.9 on his back but all Wales will see is a big target as they attempt to level their Test series in Melbourne on Saturday night.
After delivering one of his best performances in the gold jumper in Australia’s 27-19 win in their opening Test against Wales in Brisbane last Saturday night, Genia is a marked man.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde joked he would give his forwards a photo of Genia to put next to their bed in the lead up to the Etihad Stadium match after Genia darted through two of them for a try just after halftime.
“He was obviously very active and a thorn in our side around the breakdown,” McBryde said on Wednesday.
“We’ve obviously got to try and get our hands on him a bit more.”
Veteran Welsh prop Adam Jones said the skills of Genia were a surprise.
“I didn’t realise how good he was, he’s a hell of a player,” Jones said on Wednesday.
“His try, as good as it was, was a bit of a mess up in defence.”
The Welsh tactics to target Genia don’t come as a surprise with Wallabies coaching coordinator Tony McGahan saying it’s what they expect.
“I think Wales’ first reaction will be to really shut down our key playmakers at nine and 10,” McGahan said.
“I think you’ll see a renewed focus in that area; you’ll see a real blitz defence and they’ll be coming off their line exceptionally hard around the ruck and try to control our nine and 10 and make sure their time on the ball and their ability to get themselves in the game will be shortened.
“Contact will be made in that area, there’s no doubt about that.”
But McGahan, who coached Irish club Munster to win the Celtic League title in 2010-11 before joining the Australian camp this year, believed Genia was up for the added attention.
He said at Munster he used to cut up video clips of Genia to show up and coming No.9s how they should aspire to play.
McGahan said the Welsh enjoyed the “fractured part of the game” so the Wallabies were expecting their opponents to rely more heavily on their kicking game after a change in tactics made an impact in the second half of last Saturday’s Test.
“That’s where they’ll come at us; the contact area defensively and a strong kicking game will be their second platform,” McGahan said.
With two games under their belt after overcoming the Brumbies 25-15 on Tuesday night, Jones said his side would be better prepared for the pace of the Australians.
The Welsh will be buoyed by the arrival of their coach Warren Gatland, who has been stranded in New Zealand after breaking both heels falling off a ladder in April.
They will announce their side on Thursday and are hopeful injured George North (leg) and Scott Williams (face) will be available to play.© AAP 2013
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