Will Genia must stay fit for Japan 2019

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    The Wallabies proved conclusively on the weekend they won’t win games of any importance unless Will Genia is on duty.

    Not only was the 29-year-old halfback the tearaway man of the match against Wales at Cardiff, but his leadership was vital.

    There was no better example when captain Michael Hooper was binned for repeatedly being penalised with 13 minutes to go.

    Only minutes earlier, referee Glen Jackson had warned both captains the next penalty was a yellow.

    Hooper was stupid enough to be the next, and departed.

    The Wallabies were leading 29-16 at the time. but Wales were hammering with plenty of possession. They were camped in Wallaby territory.

    Two converted tries for a one-point win was a distinct possibility, especially with the Wallabies a man short.

    But Genia’s generalship denied them.

    Not only did he read the play so superbly, he pulled off many telling tackles all over the park.

    In short, Genia saved the Wallaby bacon.

    Will Genia Wallabies Australia Rugby Union Test Championship 2016

    The (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    Even though both Gena and Bernard Foley had (vc) after their name on the team sheet, it was crystal clear who was the senior when Hooper departed – Genia.

    The gobful he gave Foley during the Hooper binning didn’t miss.

    Why coach Michael Cheika nominates two vice-captains makes no sense, even moreso when both are backs and play side by side.

    It’s no secret I’ve never rated Hooper as a captain.

    But Genia comprehensively proved his worth by leading a man-short Wallabies to defend against wave after wave of Welshmen during those vital ten minutes.

    Sure, Wales scored at the death, but Genia had safely seen the Wallabies home by then.

    There are two other aspects of Hooper’s rugby that don’t cut the mustard.

    He’s the captain, and must set the standard for the squad, but he’s penalised more than most.

    And he’s the only Wallaby who plays with his socks down, a shabby example for his coveted position.

    Importantly, he’s a hog in possession, rarely looking for support, and rarely passing – constantly seeking the hero play.

    In the 41st minute yesterday he took on three defenders from five metres out with Reece Hodge unmarked outside him.

    Hooper never looked to his right, he just put his head down and plunged for the line.

    Luckily he landed on the line, going within centimetres of bombing a certain try.

    But to be binned late in the game after a warning was inexcusable.

    But Cheika will stick with Hooper. Hopefully Will Genia will be around to keep picking up the pieces.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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