Will Genia eyes return 'home' to Queensland Reds
WALLABIES scrumhalf Will Genia will return to Super Rugby in Australia next year after signing a release from the third year of his contract with French Top 14 club Stade Francais.
The 29-year-old revealed on Tuesday that he had been given the all clear to return to Australia after two seasons in Paris.
"I'll be back," Genia told foxsports.com.au.
"I've just got to choose a club.
"I've finalised my release, which is good.
"That's all done."
Genia has made no secret of his desire to return to Australian rugby over the last month.
But the fine print of his contract with Stade Francais was more complicated than most.
The veteran of 75 Tests initially signed with Premiership club Bath in 2015, but later had his contract bought out by Stade Francais.
However, the English club retained the first right of refusal for Genia's services.
But after weeks of negotiations Genia is finally locked in with Australian rugby and thanked his French club for their understanding.
"It was just a conversation that had to be had and we managed to come to an agreement that worked for both myself and Stade," Genia said.
"Stade were very good about it which I was very thankful for.
"I've got the release document all done, so it's just about choosing a club."
The Reds are Genia's most likely destination.
It's the club he joined as a teenager, before making his Super Rugby debut in 2007.
In 2011, Genia - along with halves partner Quade Cooper - were the stars of the show, guiding the Reds to their maiden Super Rugby title.
Genia scored the matchwinning try against the Crusaders in the final at Suncorp Stadium with a scintillating 60 metre run.
He brought the house down as he sliced through the middle of the field and had the rugby nous to find his way to the line with defenders second-guessing his next step.
But with three young No 9's already on their roster, the Reds will have to rejig their roster to accommodate Genia's return.
"Yeah for me (my preference remains) the Reds," Genia said.
"That's home for me.
"I spoke to my wife this morning and she's thinking along those lines as well, so we'll just have to wait and see."
Genia arrived home less than a fortnight ago after helping Stade to a European Challenge Cup title this year.
But he showed little signs of wear and tear after a long club season, making an instant impact for the Wallabies.
He was named man of the match against Fiji in his first Test since the 27-24 loss to Ireland in Dublin last November.
Genia added he was thrilled to be home and that the mood in the Wallabies camp was upbeat despite Australia's disastrous Super Rugby season.
"It's a pretty cool vibe, man," Genia said.
"It's awesome to be home.
"I was really looking forward to being a part of the boys in this camp and hoping to get selected.
"We obviously had a good week last week in terms of the result, but also just a good week with spending time with each other.
"You wouldn't know that it has been a disappointing season, Super Rugby-wise, because once everyone comes in you put all that stuff through the door and you're representing the Wallabies now.
"You're not representing the Brumbies or the Reds coming here, you put that aside.
"You're playing for Australia and that's all that matters."
The Wallabies will face a much sterner test this Saturday (3pm AEST) when they confront Scotland at Allianz Stadium.
Twice the Wallabies have scraped home by a single point over the last two years, including a last minute penalty to knock Scotland out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Genia said the Wallabies couldn't afford to give away cheap ball and praised Scotland's attacking threats.
"It's going to be very difficult," he said.
"The last couple of times we've played them it's obviously been very close.
"I think the biggest improvement for them has been their ability to use the ball a bit more rather than their traditional northern hemisphere style of kick and chase.
"They like to use the ball, they've got very good outside backs so that's going to be a big challenge for us, to make sure we're clinical when we have the ball and then we minimise their opportunities when they have it as well."