Genia, Horwill show what Reds have missed
March 24, 2013
Will Genia was at the heart of everything good for the Reds © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will have been as delighted as his would-be successor, Queensland Red director of coaching Ewen McKenzie, about the impressive return from long-term injury made by Will Genia and James Horwill.
In just his second game back from major knee surgery, Wallabies half-back Genia consistently sparked Queensland's attack as they beat the gallant Bulls 23-18 at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Just as exciting for Deans would have been the sight of IRB Rugby World Cup captain Horwill playing his first game for 10 months and looking like he'd never been away as he provided power and leadership from lock in a 40-minute appearance.
With their big guns - Horwill, Genia and Quade Cooper - reunited, the Reds pushed their season record to 4-2 and looked to be regaining form that could threaten the Brumbies' lead in the Australian conference.
McKenzie was rapturous about Genia's form after the half-back not only took on the Bulls defence repeatedly but also defused bombs in defence in a brilliant all-round effort.
"I've never seen a guy come back from an injury [so well]," McKenzie said. "It's all about confidence. He looks very confident out there. He's doing all the things he normally does and he does it without too much drama. He's getting better really quickly. We are very pleased about that."
Queensland just got the better of an arm-wrestle against the Bulls (video available only in Australia)%]
So good was Genia that he was able to eke out five extra minutes on the field from the usually stringent McKenzie before being benched in the 65th minute. Just as importantly, Genia breathed new life into halves partner Cooper, who finally came out of his shell and set up a Jono Lance try before scoring one himself with his rediscovered running game.
"There was evidence in training," McKenzie said. "[Cooper] was more direct with his running. He showed it at training and he showed it in the game. I think he will get better, too. I don't think we have seen the best of our guys yet."
Horwill was delighted to come through unscathed. "The body feels good, but it was good to have a sit down," he said. "I was blowing. There were a few seagulls being sucked in at about the 35th minute.