Rugby: Genia back in starting lineup

Will Genia. Photo / Getty Images
Will Genia. Photo / Getty Images

Halfback Will Genia's rousing second half against the Springboks has been rewarded with a recall to the Wallabies starting side for their Test against Argentina on Saturday.

Genia, who came off the bench in Australia's last two Rugby Championship matches, has relegated Nic White to the reserves for their crunch match in Rosario.

He has been joined there by Waratahs playmaker Bernard Foley, who is in line to make his Test debut after replacing winger Chris Feauai-Sautia in the only changes to the squad.

The introduction of Genia at halftime in their 28-8 loss to South Africa last weekend in Cape Town triggered a significant improvement in the Wallabies' attack.

With White noted for his kicking game, the recall of Genia, not long ago regarded as the world's best No.9, signals that the Wallabies are planning to run the ball against the Pumas.

That's good news for fullback Israel Folau, who said he felt much more comfortable playing that style than the field position game they attempted in the first half against the Springboks.

Folau felt starved of ball in that first half - and what ball he did get he had to kick away under coach Ewen McKenzie's orders.

He hoped that he could make more of an impact with Australia desperate to avoid the Rugby Championship wooden spoon with a loss.

"I was definitely not getting enough ball but in the first half last week we had no possession at all so it was hard to get my hands,'' Folau said.

"In the second half we decided to run a lot more and got a little bit of ball then but I'd still like to get myself involved a lot more.''

While his kicking skills were honed during his stint in AFL, Folau, who started his career in rugby league, said that running was his roots.

"That's definitely my strength,'' he said.

"Kicking's second to it but I've got find a balance in the both of them and when to use and and when not to.''

Folau's greatest attribute when he started his NRL career in 2007 at the Melbourne Storm was his finishing, with a go-to play a high kick into the in-goal by halfback Cooper Cronk that was a constant source of points.

The Wallabies recognise that and plan to exploit it, if they can minimise their errors.

"Some of the moves that we wanted to play last week were specifically set up for that but every time we set it up we'd get the ball turned over,'' Folau said.

"It's frustrating because there's opportunities there, we've just got to take them.''

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill (c), Rob Simmons, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Saia Faingaa, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Matt Toomua, Bernard Foley.


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