It’s a special time isn’t it – the start of a new international rugby season? Even more so in a World Cup year. All the hope and dreams, the thoughts of what could be and that maybe, just maybe they could go all the way.
Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia will retire from international rugby at the end of Australia’s World Cup campaign this year.
The 31-year-old is leaving Australian rugby to play in Japan with second division club Kintetsu Liners, alongside his Melbourne Rebels teammate Quade Cooper.
Genia is one of just 10 players to have earned 100 caps for the Wallabies and has been Australia’s first-choice halfback for the best part of a decade.
He made his debut against New Zealand in 2009 but Genia says he now wants to spend more time with family and make way for the next generation of Australian halfbacks.
“There’s only so much of yourself that you can give and being in this position of playing for your country you give everything,” Genia said.
“From an emotional perspective, mental perspective, physical perspective, you give absolutely everything and you get to a point where you realise there’s only so much of yourself that you can give and for me I’ve got to that point.
“I feel like I’m leaving at the right time because there’s a whole bunch of young players coming through that are very good, and experienced ones too with Nic (White) and Joey (Powell).
“The guys yet to experience playing at this level for a long time, they bring in a fresh sense of enthusiasm and energy that I certainly can’t.
“I still have the passion and pride and honour of representing my country, absolutely, and I’m as competitive as anyone. But when you bring that fresh sense of enthusiasm and energy into the group it brings something else with it.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the guys come through next year.”
The Wallabies play five Tests before their Japan World Cup campaign kicks off against Fiji on September 21.
Genia wants to retire a World Cup winner and said he’ll be relishing his remaining time in Wallaby gold.
“I want to really enjoy it, it seems like just yesterday I was lucky enough to have walked into Wallabies camp at the age of 21 and now I’m 31 and I don’t have much longer left,” Genia said.
“I’m very much content with everything I’ve done, that’s not to say I’m happy with losing and not having won Bledisloes and not having won more trophies … but I’m very happy that I’ve made my country proud but also my place of birth, Papua New Guinea, proud and my family proud.”