AUSTRALIAN Wallaby Will Genia at 21 years achieved yet another milestone in his short but burgeoning rugby career when he was named vice-captain of Australian Super 14 team the Queensland Reds earlier in the week.
Genia, who debuted for Australia in last year’s Tri-Nations series against the New Zealand All Blacks, has virtually gone from being a second string halfback for the Reds to being Australia’s first choice No.9.
He is poised to lead the Reds with captain James Horwill against traditional rivals the NSW Waratahs in the opening round of the Super 14 competition this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Both his parents, Elizabeth and Kilroy, will be present to watch the latest chapter in their son’s career unfold and mum Elizabeth said yesterday that she was extremely proud of her son’s achievements to date.
“I’m very proud of William and his achievement. He’s a quiet achiever. He didn’t get around to tell me he was made vice-captain,” Elizabeth said.
“They’ve (Reds) probably seen his leadership qualities and are grooming him for bigger things.
“Even when he made the Wallabies last year I found out from watching it on the news. He’s so focused with his rugby at the moment but we’re obviously very proud that he’s gone a long way in a short time.”
Such has been Genia’s rise to prominence over the space of 12 months that some rugby commentators have chrsitened him the next “Gregan,” in reference to former Australian halfback and world cup winning captain and rugby hall-of-famer George Gregan.
This was a mighty accolade for Genia considering the young papua New Guinean has only a handful of Tests to his name thus far.
To be recognised as a leader at such a young age and being the smallest player on the field speaks volumes for Genia.
“He’s very talkative on the field and gets things moving directing his players but when he’s at home he’s laidback,” mother Elizabeth said of Will’s demeanour.
New Queensland coach and former Wallaby prop, Ewan McKenzie this week named Genia vice-captian while picking a large agressive pack aimed at dominating the Waratahs and it is clear he sees Genia as a developing leader and a potential future captain.
Meanwhile Genia continues to play and enjoy his rugby seemingly unpertrurbed by all the attention.