Australia

Genia brushes off captaincy debate

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 08:34
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At the end of the day my focus is just here with the Reds
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Scrumhalf Will Genia says that the Wallabies captaincy is the furthest thing from his mind as he prepares for another Super Rugby season with the Reds.

Following Ben Mowen's shock decision to leave for France at the end of the 2014 season in the interests of his family, speculation has been rife about which player will take up the Wallaby captaincy.

Reds skipper James Horwill and Genia have both fulfilled the role in the past, whilst playmaker Quade Cooper is also being touted as an outside chance to lead the national side.

The experienced Horwill was axed as captain by coach Ewen McKenzie on last year's European tour so that he could focus on improving his form, with Mowen leading the team to consecutive victories over Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

However, Mowen's decision to walk away from Australian rugby at the end of the season has opened up the debate over which player is best suited to the role of captain.

The 25-year-old Genia told AAP that the issue has not even crossed his mind as he prepares for another season as vice-captain of the Reds under Horwill's leadership.

"At the end of the day my focus is just here with the Reds," Genia said.

"Captaincy, all those sort of things don't worry me at this stage. It's just about rolling up and doing as well as I can for the club."

He added that he respected Mowen's decision to secure his family's future by playing in France, but would not be drawn on whether foreign-based players should be allowed to represent the national side.

"I've played with Ben and as a teammate I respect his decision, I admire the courage it's taken to make a decision like that," he said.

"It's obviously well publicised the cash on offer and things like that but it's individual circumstances, what's important to each individual player.

"I don't think it's disrespectful to say guys go overseas and want to still play for the Wallabies ... but the policies are put in place that if you make that decision to go overseas you understand that you forfeit that right.

"The players that have done so, have done so willingly."

The scrumhalf said that as vice-captain he forms part of a strong leadership group at the Reds, and added that their focus is on claiming a second Super Rugby title this year.

"I've been informed that I'll still be vice-captain here and that's a role and responsibility that I enjoy," Genia said.
 
"We've got so many great leaders here at the club and that's a good thing for the direction of this club."
 
Genia has been vice-captain for the Reds alongside Horwill since 2010, in a partnership that has seen the team win a Super Rugby title in 2011 and made it to consecutive Super Rugby finals appearances for the last two years.
 
With just over three weeks until the Reds' first trial match against the Chiefs in Toowoomba, Genia was pleased to be back at training and working hard toward the team's goal of another title.
 
"It's really good to be back. It's a place that I love to come back to," Genia said.
 
"It's great to see a bunch of new guys coming in and buying into the culture and environment we're trying to create here.
 
"Our goal is to win another Super Rugby title. We enjoy having that expectation of success and we put that expectation on ourselves."
 
Genia said the Reds' trial against the Chiefs in Toowoomba and then their return to Ballymore Stadium to take on the Melbourne Rebels provided two great opportunities for players and fans alike.
 
"I'm really looking forward to playing in Toowoomba," Genia said.
 
"I didn't get to play there last year, but I went and helped out and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It's really nice to get up there, see them, sign a few autographs and showcase the style of footy we play.
 
"Ballymore is really special, it's the spiritual home of Queensland rugby. It's where I came as a young kid to watch the Reds first play. I’m fortunate to have played in a game here in 2010 and it was an incredible atmosphere."

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