Rookie relishing opportunity
Reds number nine hoping to shine against the Springboks on Saturday
Last Updated: 02/09/09 12:54pm
Genia: Hard worker
Rookie Australia scrum-half Will Genia is relishing the chance to impress on the international stage.
Australia v South Africa
Saturday September 5, live on Sky Sports 2 from 10.30am
"When I got injured Robbie Deans gave me a call. He said to me 'if you didn't get injured you'd be picked' and that was the first time I realised"
Will Genia Quotes of the week
The 21-year-old started this year's Super 14 season as Queensland Reds' second choice number nine before going on to establish himself as a central figure at the club.
But it was not all highs in 2009, as the youngster - who grew up in Papua New Guinea - picked up a four-game suspension for a dangerous tackle and saw his season cut short by a finger injury.
He used both lay-offs to work on his fitness, though, and has now been rewarded by a starting berth in the Wallabies' side for Saturday's Tri-Nations Test against South Africa, during which he is keen to make a big impact.
"I started off with Queensland as the bench half-back and personally I always thought that I could start as the Reds half-back, it was just about preparing myself," Genia said.
"I never really had national selection in my mind to be honest I was more focused on starting for Queensland and playing good consistent rugby for Queensland.
"People had been saying you could be playing for Australia, but it's not something you focus on.
"When I got injured Robbie Deans gave me a call. He said to me 'if you didn't get injured you'd be picked' and that was the first time I realised.
"I did everything I could, did as much running and gym and possible and got myself back as quick as I could.
"It's a great honour now that I have it and I want to make the most of it."
Coach Deans has also been impressed by Genia's work ethic and fully expects the youngster to make the most of his opportunity.
"We can provide opportunities for players, but it's up to them with what they do with it," he said.
"Will is a bloke who has really made the most of every opportunity that has come his way.
"He has also overcome some adversity through his injury; he's shown he's got the discipline and the habits to deal with that sort of challenge.
"It's a good trait to have."
Genia is among five changes made by Deans for the fixture with South Africa, which is live on Sky Sports 2 from 10.30am.