Wallaby ace Will Genia is confident he’ll be fit and firing for what he describes as an ‘amazing’ opportunity when the British & Irish Lions arrive in Australia next year.
The Wallaby scrumhalf is currently sidelined with the knee injury he suffered in his country’s Rugby Championship win over South Africa in early September, but he insists there’s no danger of him being undercooked next year.
Genia missed eight Tests in a row at the back end of this year and he still doesn’t expect to return to domestic action until the Super Rugby clash between the Reds and the Bulls in Brisbane on March 23.
But the length of his lay off isn’t causing him any sleepless nights and both he and Wallaby boss Robbie Deans are convinced he can be back at his best by the time of the first Test on June 22.
“If I’m going to be realistic, it’ll be round six that I’m back. If I’m back in round six, I get two months to play footy,” said Genia of the upcoming Lions tour.
“Robbie and I discussed when I’d be back and I said to him: ‘That’s more than enough for me to be ready,’ and Robbie agreed with that.
“To be able to represent your country in a once in 12-year opportunity would be amazing. It’s the best of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland and I really want to be there.
“We want to entertain and play rugby people want to watch. If we beat them it will prove a lot about our team.”
Genia expects to be joined by Reds teammate Quade Cooper when the Wallabies take on Britain and Ireland’s elite despite the controversy surrounding Cooper’s recent rants regarding his coach and his country.
Cooper signed a new two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union and the Reds on December 7 – looking to put his public outburst, in which he criticised Deans and described the Aussie camp as toxic, behind him.
No one yet knows whether the maverick flyhalf’s relationship with Deans can be fully repaired, but Genia insists he saw no sign of tension when he and Cooper and Wallaby captain James Horwill met up with Deans to discuss the Lions tour earlier this week.
“I don’t think there’s any issues there,” added Genia.
“It was Robbie, me, James and Quade. We all sat down and talked about the Lions tour, dates of the camps, what they will be about and all those sorts of things, plus a bit of content about footy.
“There’s absolutely no issues there at all from what I saw.”