Australia v South Africa, Tri-Nations, July 23
Genia comes out fighting
July 21, 2011
Australia will look to Genia to ignite their backs come Saturday © Getty Images
Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia is confident that he and fellow half-back Quade Cooper will be able to play their normal expansive game in Saturday's Tri-Nations opener against South Africa.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has identified Genia and Cooper as the hosts' main attacking outlet and will order his men to employ a conservative game plan to nullify the duo. While the heavy rain that has hammered Sydney in recent days should also help the visitors, Genia challenged the tourists to back up their talk with actions.
"They can say what they're going to do but they have to execute and we feel like we can exert pressure on them not just through our attack but through our defence as well," Genia said. "And hopefully we can stifle their attack, and we're confident that when we have the ball in hand with the players that we have, that we can scored points."
While the visitors cancelled their scheduled training run on Thursday, instead opting for a spot of basketball indoors, the Wallabies braved the elements as they attempt to make amends for Sunday's shock loss to Samoa. Genia admitted training in the wet and windy conditions was a shock to the system but says the side will be ready for anything come Saturday night.
"We haven't trained in [these conditions] all year in Queensland, I couldn't feel my fingers out there today but you just push through it," he said. "It's not something you obviously think about too much going into a game, there's bigger things to worry about and focus on, we trained in it today and we trained really well. We've prepared well all week and we're expecting it to be this way come game-time, so we'll be ready for it."
The scrum-half conceded that the inclement conditions, which are forecast to hang around until Sunday, will force the Wallabies to tone down their attacking approach. "It will obviously change things," he said. "You probably wouldn't want to give it too much air because it's a lot harder passing the ball when it's slippery.
"And you want to keep it tight, build momentum through the close stuff obviously with the forwards and then you look to turn them around, make them make mistakes and just get points wherever you can - through penalties, drop goals."
There is at least one Australian player who hopes Sydney's wet weather continues. "I love it. It's always good to slide onto the ball - it's good fun," star openside flanker David Pocock said. "I think in the wet the emphasis is more on the forward pack so definitely as a flanker you have more of a role."
Pocock, who missed last week's loss with a foot injury, is braced for a physical encounter. "Everyone knows when you play South Africa you've got to be up for it otherwise it's going to be a hard day at the office, so we're definitely keen to get out there and turn it around from last weekend."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.