Reds to name Nigel Genia on the bench
March 5, 2013
The Reds were defiant in holding off the fast-finishing Hurricanes
Nigel Genia, the younger brother of Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia, is in line to make his Super Rugby debut against Melbourne Rebels on Friday night, due to a shoulder injury to incumbent Ben Lucas.
Lucas was replaced at half-time of the Reds' scrappy 18-12 win over the Hurricanes last Friday night, and he was booked in to visit a specialist on Monday evening following concerning scan results.
With head coach Ewen McKenzie requiring Lucas to train on Tuesday afternoon, Genia is set to be chosen on Queensland's bench behind rising utility Nick Frisby who would get his first start at halfback.
Genia, 21, was basically the fifth-choice No. 9 when the sidelined Will urged him to start training with the Reds College five months ago after he returned from a stint in Perth club rugby.
Nigel impressed for the Reds College's 24-3 win over Tonga A on the weekend, and McKenzie acknowledged he was improving each day in the set-up.
"He volunteered to come in in October for two weeks, and he's still here," he said. "That's a long time he's been here, and I think he's improved a lot in that time. "He's a slightly quieter version (of halfback) than Will but he's got some really good skills. "It's a credit to him and his persistence."
Lucas has performed solidly in Will Genia's absence, but the code's best half-back, still at least a week away from returning from his knee reconstruction, has been missed as the Reds' attack has spluttered.
Reds centre Anthony Faingaa, meanwhile, is poised to return from a hand injury, and Mike Harris is also in the mix to regain his fullback spot at AAMI Park.
McKenzie has rewarded Chris Feauai-Sautia and Aidan Toua for their early-season form, but he believes he should bank on more seasoned players in the derby clash.
"We've obviously given an opportunity to new guys and young guys, and that's a worthwhile investment; at the same time we're looking for consistency and sometimes experience matters," he said. "We've got some guys who are tried and trusted so some of these games you need a bit of that. You need guys who have been there and done that."
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