Rugby: Genia determined to play for Cooper's 100th despite sore ankle

Will Genia of the Reds. Photo / Getty Images
Will Genia of the Reds. Photo / Getty Images

A sore ankle won't be enough to stop Will Genia sharing in a significant milestone with Queensland Reds teammate Quade Cooper.

The Wallabies halfback is available for Friday night's Super Rugby clash with the Blues at Eden Park despite coming off injured during last weekend's loss to the Hurricanes.

Friday's game will be Cooper's 100th appearance for the Reds. The five-eighth has played most of those games alongside Genia in a partnership that has been a defining aspect of Queensland rugby since the two debuted for the Reds in 2007.

While Genia admits his ankle is still painful, it won't be enough to keep him sidelined for the match against the Blues.

"I can run around. I can move. I can kick," he said. "There's still a bit of pain there but, mate, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who's not experiencing pain while playing and training anyway.

"One of the driving factors to push through the pain and play with the ankle is to be a part of it [Cooper's 100th game].

"I've played with him for a long, long time and it's something I would not want to miss because he's a good friend."

Cooper endured a shocking night in the 35-21 loss to the Hurricanes, making several poor decisions, but Genia says the mercurial playmaker's confidence is one of his key assets.

"That's something you want in your teammates and in the players around you, guys who want the ball, want to take the game on," he said.

"You know when he has the ball he's going to create something from nothing."

The Wallabies halfback is hopeful Cooper can deliver at Eden Park with the Reds' finals hopes on a knife-edge after three straight defeats.

"This is do-or-die essentially," Genia said.

Unheralded Brumbies flanker Jarrad Butler says that to win the title you have to prove yourself against the best - and they don't come much better than returning Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw.

McCaw's expected return from a fractured thumb against the Brumbies in Christchurch this Saturday will not only be a big boost for the Crusaders, but an "exciting privilege" for New Zealand-born Butler.

-AAP

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