RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest Super Rugby news from Australia.
Genia returns for Reds
Will Genia has been announced as starting scrumhalf and captain of the Reds for this weekend’s clash against the Force.
Genia underwent knee construction six months ago and returns earlier than first expected, a much needed boost to the Reds leadership stock.
Genia was quoted as saying that he will need to be handcuffed at half time to not complete the match, as he is expected to only play the first half.
Smith in contractual battle
Robbie Deans has expressed his desire to have George Smith available for the British and Irish Lions tour, but it would require another contract or an Australian Rugby Union exemption.
As it stands, a player may only represent Australia if he is contracted to a Super Rugby franchise. Smith’s contract with the Brumbies ends at the end of May, a few weeks before the tour kicks off. For Smith to be eligible, he will have to sign a contract extension with the Brumbies or ask for special exemption from the ARU.
Deans was in the stands when David Pocock was helped off the field with a season ending knee injury, but was impressed with his replacement, Smith, who looked right at home.
Waratahs sign Phipps
Rebels scrumhalf Nick Phipps has signed with the Waratahs for the 2014 and 2015 Super Rugby seasons, in the process committing to the ARU for that period.
Phipps has 12 Wallaby caps and the move has been welcomed by coach Robbie Deans who thinks Phipps can claim a regular spot in the Australian test side.
Phipps filled in for Will Genia last year, earning nine caps in his absence, and is looking toward the Rugby World Cup in 2015 in making his decision.
Barnes back for Cheetahs clash
Berrick Barnes will return to the Waratahs side for the match against the Cheetahs this weekend. Barnes hurt his knee in preseason and will make his first appearance of the season.
More good news is the return from injury of Rob Horne, who had a hamstring strain. Coach Michael Cheika is still deciding whether to start either of the players or to introduce them off the bench.
The Waratahs go into the Cheetahs clash having only won one match in three starts, while the Cheetahs will be on a high after their win against the Highlanders last week.