Will Genia playing for the Queensland Reds in the 2015 Super Rugby competition.
Will Genia playing for the Queensland Reds in the 2015 Super Rugby competition. DAVE HUNT

Will Genia to join Rebels from next season

RUGBY UNION: Will Genia has put preparations for this week's first Bledisloe Cup clash in Sydney on hold to announce he will be joining the Melbourne Rebels next season.

The 29-year-old has signed a two-year deal after previously playing all his 114 games in Super Rugby with the Queensland Reds.

Genia had lent towards returning to Queensland after his stint with Stade Francais last season but with three halfbacks already on their books, the Reds could not accommodate the cost of their former nine.

Genia will also have to battle with Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker and Mick Snowden for the halfback spot in Melbourne but said he was delighted to have sorted his playing future.

"I'm really looking forward to joining the guys down in Melbourne, they have a great young team with plenty still to achieve in Super Rugby, so I'm excited to get stuck in in 2018," Genia said.

"First and foremost I'm there to contribute to the desired success of the club on the field through my performance and ability as a player.

"After that, it'll be a great chance to bring some of the things I've learned over the years to the club, and help drive the club forward."

The Reds showed their frustration in a statement yesterday, saying they could not "live beyond their means".

"Given Will's contribution to Queensland Rugby and the Reds, we obviously had considerable interest in him returning," QRU CEO Richard Barker said.

"However, we quite simply could not afford the figures presented to us by the ARU under the salary cap rules.

"The ARU, Will and his representative have been fully aware of this from the outset of discussions.

"This issue highlights the great divide between the professional game and the grassroots in this country - a divide the QRU is committed to improving.

"We've already announced the signing of a number of good developing younger players from our pathway - including halfbacks - for 2018 and beyond.

"As a sport, we can't continue to live beyond our means. We cannot risk a salary cap breach and we are committed to the ARU's current contracting rules."

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