Refocused Genia loving life back in big time
PRINCE William may have visited the Wallabies dressing room as the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union but it was "William the Conqueror" generating all the fuss on-field for another top class performance.
The precision that Will Genia adds like a better class of engine oil is all pervading when he handles the ball upwards of 80 times a Test, passing, taking quick taps, organising and clearing ball from the chaos around most rucks.
In Cardiff, the scheming halfback was at it again with another man-of-the-match display in the 29-21 victory that has propelled the Wallabies towards Twickenham and England with confidence.
There was time for some casual chat and photos with Prince William from even the republicans in the Wallabies ranks when he joined them in the dressing rooms of Principality Stadium on Sunday morning (EDT).
A brush with the royals has long been a treat on tours to the United Kingdom.
It includes one memorable meeting involving Prince William's late mother, Princess Diana.
After former Australian Rugby Union boss Joe French was seated next to the then-Princess of Wales at another Australia-Wales Test in Cardiff, players eagerly sought details.
The craggy-faced French took a puff of his cigarette, paused, looked past her beauty and famously said: "She knows *&#*-all about rugby."
Prince William revealed earlier in the night that "I do need toothpicks to keep my eyes open because of the (two) kids."
There was no hint the toothpicks were borrowed from fans at Twickenham last weekend where England's flat play left most unfulfilled.
Australian rugby did not see the upside when French club Stade Francais wooed Genia to Paris for two years but it has heightened the lust for the gold jersey within him.
"Being outside the bubble" is what Genia called being so remote that it refocused him on making his final years as a Wallaby really count in the run to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Hard on attack in Cardiff, Genia fired a long, flat bullet pass from the ruckbase that put giant lock Adam Coleman over untouched because centre Tevita Kuridrani had done his work as a decoy inside.
Those switched-on extra efforts were everywhere against the Welsh as a sign of the synch that 12 Tests this year has given the Wallabies since rusty June. They must surface again at Twickenham.
"I thought our points were quite well constructed (against Wales) and we can take confidence into the England game on the back of how we scored them," Genia said.
"I missed out on the England games last year so on a personal note, I'm just really looking forward to that big challenge."
Genia missed the 0-4 embarrassment that the Wallabies endured against England last year.
When the champion No. 9 says Saturday's blockbuster "isn't extra special" it really means he's taken on board the Wallabies' new mantra that every rival, every week of Test preparation, is to be treated with the same focus.
Of course, meeting England is special and Genia can help punt into history those four ragged, misdirected Test efforts last year that heaped so much pressure on the Wallabies.