Will Genia will make his Super Rugby debut for the Rebels after making 114 appearances for the Reds.Test halfback Will Genia has overcome a back injury and will make his Melbourne Rebels debut against Queensland, adding extra spice to their Super Rugby opening round clash.
Genia has been sidelined during the pre-season with a fractured back but Rebels coach Dave Wessels said he would be fully fit for their AAMI Park match on Friday night.
Genia started his career with the Reds back in 2007 and hoped to rejoin them this season following a two-year stint in France.
But Wessels said the 30-year-old was now a committed Rebel.
“I think he’s really happy where he is and he’s enjoying his rugby,” Wessels said.
Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete, who has a knee injury, is the only key player unavailable for selection.
Genia will be joined by Jack Debreczeni in the halves, with Wessels saying the big-kicking five-eighth offered the team plenty of options in attack.
Once touted as a future Wallaby, Debreczeni’s future with the Rebels looked uncertain after a below-par 2017 but Wessels said he’d regained his confidence and love of rugby through a stint playing in Japan.
“I think Jack (Debreczeni) has got certain abilities that will unleash other parts of our team,” Wessels said.
“I know having coached against him that we spent a lot of time planning how we are going to defend against some of the things that he could do; particularly his kicking game.
“He’s got a lot of special talents but I think there’s been times over the last year or two where he just wasn’t enjoying his rugby but he’s come back from Japan with a smile on his face and I think that’s made the difference.”
Wessels joined the Rebels from the axed Western Force, along with a dozen players including Test lock and now Melbourne captain Adam Coleman, to give the perennial strugglers a massive boost of talent.
Wessels said he wasn’t feeling any added pressure to perform.
“There’s pressure on us because we want to get the reward for all the hard work we put in but we’re not solving world peace here.
“If you’ve worked hard and commit yourself than the games are just about reaping rewards for that.”