Rugby World Cup: Genia's mission to beat slow Smit

Will Genia is in line to benefit from the selection of Springbok hooker John Smit. The Wallaby halfback is likely to run at the slowing bulk of the Bok captain around the fringes of the rucks and mauls in Sunday's quarter-final.

The Boks have stayed loyal to their 110-test captain, which the Wallabies consider a bonus because South Africa's most damaging hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, will be stuck on the bench again.

A revised Wellington weather forecast that teasingly offers lighter winds on a dry night also enhances the prospect of halfback Genia exploiting a sluggish forward around the ruck base.

In July, Genia did just that when he dashed between Smit, 33, and an ambling Springbok prop on the blindside to set up an 85m try in the first 10 minutes of a decisive Tri-Nations test win in Sydney.

The Boks are at their best as front-runners who can then squeeze the life out of their opponents. So the Kurtley Beale idea of the Wallabies "blasting from the kick-off" and then stifling South Africa's scoring can set up a second half in which Australia's superior conditioning may be telling.

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, a tactical adviser with the Bok Champions of 2007, said South Africa's choice of hooker could work in Australia's favour.

"I have great respect for John but he is now clearly inferior as a player to du Plessis. Genia will make him a target," Jones said. "His captaincy is so highly valued that he has the nod to start, but he no longer has the mobility of a top-class hooker."

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie also admitted "surprise" at the exclusion of du Plessis.

"For me, this whole quarter-final is about selection and having the right guys on the field," McKenzie said.

"No question, Will's running on the short side can tease and stretch any fringe defender, not just Smit."

- Sydney Daily Telegraph

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