Genuis Genia Returns For Reds

Source: Bradley Kanaris/AAP
Will Genia returns from his ACL injury on Saturday night. Image courtesy of Bradley Kanaris/AAP
He’s arguably the best scrum-half in the world and the return of Will Genia to the Queensland line-up means the look of the 2011 Super Rugby champions changes dramatically. Despite the best efforts of Ben Lucas and Nick Frisby – who was impressive against Melbourne last week – Genia’s comeback from ACL surgery means enigmatic fly-half Quade Cooper has his partner-in-crime back and the understanding between the pair should have teams in Super Rugby shaking in their boots.

It will take time for Genia to get his timing back, but his running game and organisation will be vital as the Reds battle it out with the Brumbies at the top of the Australian Conference in the early part of the season. The Reds heavily relied on their leader last season and his ability to dictate play from the scrumbase has been sorely missed, despite winning three of their first four games.

A quality playmaker is something the Western Force was without last year, but experienced former Blues halfback Alby Mathewson has been serviceable since moving to Perth this season. They won’t have international winger Nick Cummins for the clash with the Reds, though, after he succumbed to knee inflammation. Lock Sam Wykes will also be missing due to an ankle sprain, but the biggest loss is the potential absence of skipper Matt Hodgson who has a hamstring problem and his wife is also expected to give birth in the coming days.

The West Australians haven’t been embarrassed yet this season – although a loss to expected whipping boys the Southern Kings wasn’t a great start to their tour of the Rainbow Nation – but they’re still searching for their first win. There were vast improvements against the Bulls in a 36-26 defeat two weeks back, and Force should be better for the week off after returning to WA.

Queensland dropped Digby Ioane earlier in the week after an incident at a Melbourne pub following the 10-point win over the Rebels, while Dom Shipperley is out with a back injury. They’ve been replaced by one-cap Wallaby Luke Morahan and imposing young centre Chris Feauai-Sautia . Veteran back-rower Radike Samo won’t play due to a knee problem, with Adam Wallace-Harrison coming on to the bench.

The boys from the west have a good record against the Reds overall, but they’re still looking for their first victory at Suncorp Stadium. Queensland has won all five matches between the teams there, including a 35-20 result last season. 

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