All Blacks vow to get Genia
DYNAMIC Australian scrum-half Will Genia is a marked man heading into this weekend’s Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks, according to his opposite Piri Weepu.
New Zealand have won 12 of the last 14 Tests against their neighbours and the stocky No.9 revealed Genia has been identified as the number one threat to their continued dominance.
Fresh in the All Blacks’ minds is the Queensland star’s match-winning display when the Wallabies surged to a late Tri Nations triumph in Brisbane a year ago, Genia’s guile around the ruck wreaking havoc with the Kiwi defence.
And Weepu knows that keeping his elusive rival quiet will go a long way to silencing the Aussies in Sydney.
“We’ll try not to let him play his usual game, which is poking his head around the corner and drawing defenders to put guys into holes,” the 59-Test veteran said.
“We saw that last year in Brisbane when he made a couple of crucial plays and kept them in the game. We’ve just got to make sure that we stay on top of that and our guys are in the right position.”
Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans insists Quade Cooper is still very much a part of his plans despite overlooking the flamboyant fly-half for Saturday’s much-anticipated clash at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
In just 12 months Cooper’s stock as one of Australia’s most valuable assets has fallen dramatically after a serious knee injury compounded what was a poor World Cup campaign from the 24-year-old.
Deans has kept faith in Berrick Barnes, who was one of Australia’s stand-outs in the 3-0 whitewash of Wales in June.
However, he was confident Cooper’s time would come again.
“He has to keep doing what he’s doing, keep working with us and it will unfold over time,” the Kiwi-born coach said. “It’s good he’s back training with us, he’s working had on his physical state.”