British and Irish Lions 2013: Will Genia ready to block Ben Youngs’ escape routes

 

For Will Genia, it must feel like the Lions have a limitless supply of top-quality scrum-halves lining up to try to negate his influence on this series.

In the first Test match in Brisbane, Genia, widely regarded as the best No 9 in the world, had to go up against Welshman Mike Phillips in what proved an intriguing and evenly matched tussle. Now, the Papua New Guinean-born half-back will take on England’s Ben Youngs in the second Test in Melbourne while Ireland’s Conor Murray, another man in great form, will await his chance from the Lions’ bench. “I think they are really spoilt for choice in the three half-backs they have,” Genia said yesterday. “They are all high-quality players.”

It would be understandable of Genia to be jealous of the tourists’ strength in depth as he is likely to have to play every minute of every Test as the gap in class between the 25-year-old and his understudy, Nick Phipps, is too large to contemplate for many Australian rugby fans.

The Wallabies were edged out 23-21 in the Brisbane Test, and Australia’s fly-half James O’Connor struggled for impact as the back line imploded with injuries, but Genia continued calmly to direct traffic amid the chaos. The Queensland Red set up his side’s first try with a dash down the right wing, holding the ball up to wait for support before dribbling a perfectly placed kick into the path of winger Israel Folau.

The Lions coach, Warren Gatland, said he was resting Phillips after the experienced scrum-half emerged from Lang Park with a sore knee. Many have speculated that the move – along with the promotion to the starting XV of the flanker Dan Lydiate – is as much about stopping Genia as keeping the squad fresh, but the Wallaby disagreed. “As it’s been said by Warren Gatland, their changes have been based on form,” Genia said. “I don’t see it as shutting any one particular player down, they’ve just been playing good rugby and they’ve been rewarded.”

Unlike Phillips, Youngs would offer a bit more attack-based play and seek to stretch the Wallabies’ defence on the flanks. “Ben Youngs is probably a bit more of an attacking player, he likes to get out of the rucks and in the many times he has done for England he scoots out, and he’s got the ability to put players through holes and hold up defenders to create space out wide,” Genia said. “We’ve watched him all tour. He’s been rewarded with an opportunity. We’ll have to work hard to nullify him.”

If Genia and Co succeed in blunting the Lions’ attacking edge, the Wallabies coach, Robbie Deans, knows  the home side’s best chance of victory lies in getting the ball in the hands of Folau, who was making his Australia debut last weekend. “You want the most damaging blokes getting as many touches as possible,” Deans said. “We have to work on that collectively. It was very important for Izzy [to play well in Brisbane]. It was a cauldron he was entering. There was a lot of discussion about his selection, so it was important to get off to a flyer and he did that.”

 

Follow LIVE coverage of the game from 10.15am by clicking HERE

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home