Will Genia more interested in letting his rugby, not his mouth, talk for him
By Jim Tucker in Edinburgh, Scotland
November 19, 2009 Powerful young Wallaby Will Genia could easily bench press the biggest body in the pack, yet he is too humble to lift his name into the same sentence as Australia's best halfbacks.
Flyhalf Matt Giteau has delighted in niggling him with a "Greegs" nickname at training before Sunday morning's (EDT) Test against Scotland at Murrayfield because of the British media's infatuation with tagging him as a new-age George Gregan.
Quade Cooper was at it too when he called him "The Next" when he found out the little No.9 had lucked into a single room privilege at the team's Edinburgh hotel rather than two-to-a-room.
Genia, 21, takes the playful banter in his stride just as he has so easily handled the scragging the England and Ireland forwards have tried to throw at him on this tour.
It surprised no one that it was Genia helping out in cover defence to hold up Ireland winger Tommy Bowe in the late no-try drama of Dublin. It's as strong a part of his game as his pass and clever darting.
Genia can bench press an imposing 172kg, which gives him the same pocket rocket power that aided Gregan throughout his distinguished career of 139 Tests. There's that name again.
"George Gregan is an icon because of the person he is and the player he was. It's a bit of a joke having my name being compared at all in the same sentence," the 21-year-old said.
"When I got picked for the Wallabies, I never got a big head nor do I think I will. It's the way I was brought up. I'm fortunate to be playing for Australia and Dad's told me a number of times, 'Don't let the hype get to you'."
When the Wallabies mingled with their 1984 Grand Slam predecessors before this tour, Genia was too shy to approach Nick Farr-Jones at a dinner. It was the Test great introducing himself to Genia that ignited 25 minutes of priceless halfback-to-halfback chatter.
Whatever Genia gets up to in Scotland this week, it will not compare to Farr-Jones on the 1984 tour.
Before the 1984 tour loss to South of Scotland in Hawick, then-Scottish hooker Colin Deans organised a little salmon grab for Farr-Jones, Andy McIntyre and several other teammates in the River Teviot.
The poaching was illegal, yet under cover of darkness and balaclavas, the Wallabies shone their lamps, waded into the waters and nabbed their prized catch. Jail awaited if they were caught.
They weren't, but they scared two real poachers they came across and chased for sport.
Genia is focused on Murrayfield where a crushing Wallabies win over an average opponent is overdue.
"The Dublin game, the draw, is done. We can't dwell on it," Genia said of the 20-20 draw at Croke Park.
"One important thing we struggled with was giving up possession straight after we scored (with the Rocky Elsom try). We seem to be better at maintaining possession when five points down rather than five points up."