Genia prepared to earn a start
He may be one of the most decorated players in Australian rugby but Melbourne Rebels new recruit Will Genia has no expectation of waltzing straight into the starting line-up.
Despite boasting 111 Super Rugby appearances and 88 Test caps, Genia has arrived at the Rebels for his first day of training on Thursday prepared to work hard and earn his selection for the opening round.
Genia kicked-off his pre-season campaign in warm and muggy conditions on Gosch’s Paddock after a well-deserved six-week hiatus following the conclusion of the Spring Tour.
“I’ve got a bit of work to do, I had a good six weeks off,” Genia said after his first session in Rebels colours.
“I did a little bit of training but nothing compares to getting out there and stuck in with the boys. I’ve got six weeks to get myself ready for that first game.
“I just need to concentrate on my job and try to get myself an opportunity in the starting line-up as well so we’ll just train hard and see where we go.”
His arrival in Melbourne marks the much-anticipated return of the scrumhalf to Australian rugby after two years with Stade Francais.
A move that excites Genia as he begins a new chapter with the Rebels.
“It was something I was looking forward to,” Genia said of his return to Australia.
“Once my duties with the Wallabies were done at the end of last year, I was really looking forward to having a break then getting stuck in.
“Super Rugby is a competition that I definitely enjoy playing, I love the level of rugby that’s on offer.
“It’s great to be a part of a new group that’s building something special here in Melbourne.”
The 29-year-old was wary of the expectation surrounding the revamped Rebels ahead of the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Genia quick to point out that a quality squad on paper doesn’t necessarily translate into immediate success without hard work behind the scenes.
“We, ourselves, set high expectations,” Genia said.
“You can look at the playing group on paper and people think that we should do this or could do that but the biggest thing is that we build that environment and culture,” Genia said.
“The one thing about having all these high-quality players is that there’s a lot of competition for spots.
“If we can have that healthy competition it will only drive each other to get better individually and collectively as a group.”
The Melbourne Rebels will kick-off its 2018 Super Rugby campaign at home against the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on Friday 23 February from 7.30pm (AEDT).
Join the Rebel Army for the 2018 Super Rugby with memberships now on sale from as little as $88 for an adult, $35 for children and $218 for a family of four for all eight home games.