Will Genia relishing latest match with Conor Murray

Will Genia has praised rival scrum-half Conor Murray’s tactical kicking as the best in the business ahead of Australia’s first Test against Ireland in Brisbane on Saturday.

Genia and Murray will go head to head for the seventh time at Suncorp Stadium in the much-anticipated series opener, offering contrasting styles as No 9s.

Genia is known for exploiting defensive gaps with rapid, sniping lining breaks while Murray’s rise to be regarded the best scrum-half in the world comes on the back of his excellent game management and impactful box kicking, a trait the Wallaby has come to appreciate and admire.

He is a big guy. He is very strong, he can be physical. His tactical kicking .... he does it better than anyone else, which creates a lot of pressure,” Genia said. “They chase it well and when they get that ball back, they are 30, 40 metres down the pitch and on the front foot. That is a big part of his game we have spoken about.

Genia, 30, is delighted to have been passed fit for the series having damaged cruciate knee ligaments playing Super Rugby with the Melbourne Rebels in his first season back in Australia after two seasons with Stade Francais. He could have returned last weekend for the Rebels but opted for additional rest, missing his team’s win in Auckland over the Blues.

“It has progressed really well. I knew if I took an extra week off then I would be 100% for this week. It is just about finding some rhythm and I’m ready for Saturday.”

Genia has not looked back since leaving Paris and is relishing his return to Australia.

“I could have stayed in Paris for another year, maybe even longer but I missed all this, missed the vibe, the competition, missed the satisfaction you get from being at a higher level of competition [that international rugby provides]. I’m glad I am back.”

Last October, in their most recent visit to Suncorp Stadium, they scored a 23-18 win over New Zealand and a return to his hometown suits Genia. “We always play well in Brisbane, for me we always seem to play better here than anywhere else and I feel a lot of the guys will say the same thing. But I think more than anything, the Super Rugby teams, the guys have been performing pretty well. Conditioning wise, guys are in good shape.”

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