Eddie Jones gave Will Genia his break at the Reds. Picture: Getty
Eddie Jones gave Will Genia his break at the Reds. Picture: Getty

Genia graduates from ‘fat little bloke’ to 100-Test player

TWO-year-old Olivia Genia will be in the Twickenham stands this weekend when her father Will becomes just the 10th Wallaby in history to play 100 Tests, and he'll be dedicating the milestone to her.

"She's one of the reasons that I have rediscovered my enjoyment in the game and why, from my perspective I have played some decent rugby," Genia said in London.

"I just want her to be proud of me and look back on and be able to say 'my dad was good at what he did'. That is very much a driving force for me."

A host of relatives will be at the match, Australia's last of the year, with Genia and the Wallabies looking to end a five-match losing streak to England.

"They will all be here, I need to get to get some tickets and I am struggling," he said.

"My mum and dad are here, my wife and daughter got in (Sunday). My brothers, sisters, their kids, friends, they get here Wednesday and Friday so there will be a fair few people."

England coach Eddie Jones blooded Genia at the Queensland Reds in 2007.

Will Genia and daughter Olivia. Picture: Annette Dew
Will Genia and daughter Olivia. Picture: Annette Dew

"I remember this fat little bloke in the academy," Jones said.

"They said 'Nah, he doesn't work hard enough'. I remember having a meeting with him and his dad - I think he his dad was an education minister for Papua New Guinea - we had a bit of a chat about what he needed to do and where he needed to go and I never saw a boy work as hard as him.

"I can always remember on a Thursday when we didn't train he'd always come up and get a bag of balls and practise his box kicking. It's a real tribute to him how hard he's worked and what a great player he's been for Australia."

The Wallabies need Genia at his very best to score an upset, with England poised to break a 109-year record by winning six straight against Australia.

Genia will dedicate his 100th cap to Olivia. Picture: Annette Dew
Genia will dedicate his 100th cap to Olivia. Picture: Annette Dew

"I love this team," Genia said.

"It's like a family, it's the most I've ever felt part of a team. Whether it's because we're staying tight because things aren't going well or whatever it is, I don't know, but it's a group where there is so much belief and so much faith in what we're trying to achieve."

Genia will be trying to mask the enormity of his achievement until after the full-time whistle.

"It's one of those things where you have to suppress that emotion because it's obviously a big Test and all about the team," he said.

"It will be really special getting the opportunity to get out there and play 100 Tests and everybody says it but I never thought I'd get one, let alone two, three, four, five and then 50 Tests.

"It would be one of my biggest achievements if not my biggest achievement getting the opportunity to play 100 Tests for my country. I'll hopefully celebrate it with a win afterwards."

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