Wallaby Genia ready for Welsh blitz in second test
Australia’s Will Genia is prepared to accept the close attention of some big Welshmen this weekend but has warned the Wallabies they must raise their game if they are to wrap up the series with a win in the second test.
Genia was showered with plaudits after his man-of-the-match performance in Australia’s 27-19 victory in the first test in Brisbane last week and the Welsh have been talking all week about the importance of containing the number nine in Melbourne.
The 24-year-old scrumhalf will link up in a halfback partnership with Berrick Barnes for the fifth straight test at Docklands Stadium on Saturday and is ready for whatever the Six Nations champions throw at him.
“I’ll just go out and do my job as best I can,” he told reporters on Friday. “If there is any extra attention, I’ll just have to deal with it.
“I think an area where they will target us is probably our breakdown. They’ll look to slow the ball down a little bit so that we don’t get the momentum we had last week.
“I’ll just ship it early then look to run,” he added. “If there’s a little more attention close to the ruck, then there’ll be space elsewhere.”
That space might fall to Barnes and Wales defensive coach Shaun Edwards was wary of what the flyhalf could offer after his fine displays against the Welsh in the third place playoff at last year’s World Cup and the test in Cardiff that followed it.
“From our experience, he’s very difficult to defend against,” the Englishman said. “We expect them to play off their number 10 a lot more this week because they played off their nine a lot last week.”
Australia have now won their last five tests against the Welsh but Genia said last week’s effort might not be enough for a sixth against a team which won a Grand Slam earlier this year.
“We understand we can’t play the same way we did last week, we’ve got to be better if we want to win because they’re going to be better,” he said. “We’ve made a huge point of that and we really emphasised that at training.”
Wales have been boosted by the arrival in Melbourne of coach Warren Gatland.
The New Zealander, who is expected to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia next year, fractured both heels in a fall while cleaning windows at his house in April.
Caretaker Rob Howley remains in charge for the tour but captain Sam Warburton said it would lift the men in red as they seek a first win over the Wallabies in Australia since 1969.
“To see his face does give us a boost,” he told the Western Mail. “Warren has had a big influence on a lot of players, particularly the younger ones in terms of giving us a chance. It’s great that he’s back in the squad.
“That will lift the players and the management I am sure.”