Will Genia to become first PNG-born player in Rugby World Cup
Will Genia in action for the Wallabies. Picture courtesy of The Age newspaper
Wallabies No 9 Will Genia will become the first Papua New Guinea-born rugby union player to take part in a world cup when Australia takes on Italy in New Zealand this afternoon.
Genia will debut at the 2011 Rugby World Cup when Australia takes on Italy at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland but his exploits on the field and the influence he commands in the team has not gone unnoticed.
He is already being compared to former Wallabies captain and scrumhalf specialist George Gregan and his combination with Queensland Reds team-mate Quade Cooper is already rated the most dangerous scrumhalf partnership in the world.
Speaking to News Limited newspapers before this afternoon’s game against Italy, the PNG born lad said he wanted to play all of Wallabies’ matches and did not want to be rested as playing in a world cup was rare.
“I want to play every game. I don’t need a rest. It’s off course up to Robbie and there are two other halfbacks but I don’t feel I don’t feel I need one. I’ve played every game for the Reds this year, all 18, and I feel fine. I’m not tired. You only get the opportunity to play in a World Cup once, maybe twice or three times if you are lucky in your career so I don’t want to miss a minute if I don’t have to,” he said.
Former England and British Lions five-eight Stuart Barnes reportedly said the key to winning the World Cup could ultimately come down to the best scrum half in the world, which could see Genia battle South Africa’s Fourie du Preez.
"If you've got the best scrum half in the world, then you can often win a World Cup and, I tell you, it's between Genia and the old master Fourie du Preez. That's why New Zealand has to watch those two."
Despite the accolades Genia said his goal in the Australian Wallabies’ 2011 RWC campaign was to give his best to the team.
“I just have to play as well as I can for the team – I don’t have any ambitions or goals of wanting to be the best halfback in the tournament. It’s not about individual goals, it’s about doing my job as well as I can for the team and contributing so the team can go well. Hopefully I do that all tournament and each game that I play, and we can win it.”