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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Will Genia - A Wallaby great in the making

Will Genia - A Wallaby great in the making

Stand out performer against England on Saturday, young Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genias rise to fame has been rapid. Playing off the bench for most of the Super 14, he now looks to be the obvious successor to the great George Gregan.

Since Gregan retired a few years back, the Wallabies have been searching in vain for a natural heir to the number nine throne. They seem to have finally succeeded, as the 21 year old is already being compared to both Gregan and Nick Farr-Jones.

He was the second choice scrumhalf at the Queensland Reds for much of the season, but impressed to the extent that he made his debut for Australia in the Tri Nations against New Zealand. His first start came against South Africa, in what is now his home town, Brisbane.

Genia was born and raised in Papua New Guinea, before moving to Brisbane when he was 12. He admits he didnt know anything about rugby union before then.

"It is all rugby league in Port Moresby where I grew up," he said. "I didn't play any team sport when I was a kid. I just played a lot of backyard cricket. I never got involved in any sport at primary school."

"I kind of got into rugby because I was an islander and everyone just assumed I'd be good. I started off as a winger and moved into inside centre and then into halfback. I think I'm still fast though," he added.

At the age of 15 he watched in a boarding house with his schoolmates as Jonny Wilkinson slotted that famous dropgoal to beat the Wallabies in 2003.

"Jonny Wilkinson broke my heart that night. There was a lot of English kids who wouldnt let it go. They still havent let it go."

Its now six years later, and on Saturday he played against the English at Twickenham, winning the Man of the Match award and scoring his maiden Test try.

"You just take the opportunities as they come really. If it's on to run, you run. If it's on to kick, you kick. If it's on to pass, you pass. You've just got to be aware of what's in front of you," said Genia.

Australia face Ireland next, and while the Grand Slam is the goal, the 5ft 9ins halfback has another challenge ahead of him - getting the Man of the Match trophy home. Theyre only allowed 20kg in the bag, and the prize itself weighs 20kg.

"It's bigger than me!" he said.

Time: 04:10

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