WILL GENIA TO CAPTAIN QANTAS WALLABIES FOLLOWING HORWILL INJURY
Qantas Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia will captain Australia for the fourth time in Saturday night’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium following the injury-forced withdrawal of lock James Horwill.
Horwill will miss the upcoming fortnight of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship after precautionary scans yesterday revealed that the 28-year-old had strained his left hamstring during Tuesday afternoon’s training session at Ballymore.
His absence opens the door for Kane Douglas to be promoted into the starting line-up alongside fellow lock Rob Simmons, while Western Force backrower Ben McCalman comes onto the bench.
The injury to Horwill gives Queensland Reds teammate Will Genia an opportunity to lead Australia out at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, where he will be well supported by new vice-captain Ben Mowen.
Genia has led the Qantas Wallabies on three previous occasions since becoming Australia’s 78th Test captain when he was given the honour at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in a pool game against the United States of America.
In his most recent match as captain, coming in September last year, Genia led Australia to a 26-19 victory over South Africa in Perth.
Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie backed Genia to step up in Horwill’s absence.
“Will is a proven leader and has had plenty of success as captain for the Queensland Reds and also for Australia,” McKenzie said.
“He is a player that thrives with the added responsibility and he has always stepped up when given the opportunity to lead. I’m sure this will bring the best out of him.
“It’s extremely disappointing to lose James but after discussions with medical staff we felt it was important not to risk further injury when he isn’t ready.
“Scans revealed his injury was on the lower-end in terms of severity and we expect him to be back to full fitness when we embark on our two-game tour of South Africa and Argentina in a few weeks.”
The Qantas Wallabies enter Saturday’s match against South Africa with possession of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate and will retain the silverware for a fourth straight year with a victory at Suncorp Stadium.
The updated Qantas Wallabies side: 1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds), 2. Stephen Moore (ACT Brumbies), 3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs), 4. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), 5. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs), 6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies), 7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs), 8. Ben Mowen (vc – ACT Brumbies), 9. Will Genia (c – Queensland Reds), 10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), 11. Nick Cummins (Western Force), 12. Christian Leali’ifano (ACT Brumbies), 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), 14. James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels), 15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
Replacements: 16. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), 17. Scott Sio (ACT Brumbies), 18. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies), 19. Ben McCalman (Western Force), 20. Jake Schatz (Queensland Reds)*, 21. Nic White (ACT Brumbies), 22. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies), 23. Jesse Mogg (ACT Brumbies)