Genia relishing English challenge

Wed, 30 Oct 2013 10:08
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Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia has said there was "nothing better" for an Australian than playing England at Twickenham.

Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia has said there was "nothing better" for an Australian than playing England at Twickenham as he looked ahead to Saturday's tour opener at 'headquarters'.

Australia, who have to play world champions New Zealand and South Africa, historically rugby union's two strongest nations, annually in the Rugby Championship, have arrived in Europe with just three wins from 10 Tests in 2013 including a 2-1 series loss to the British and Irish Lions.

But they beat England 20-14 at Twickenham this time last year and Genia, who missed that match, is looking forward to taking his personal tally at the ground to two wins from three appearances on Saturday.

A sell-out crowd of some 80,000 is expected at what will be the venue for the 2015 World Cup final.

"It's one of the best experiences," Genia told reporters.

"It's a very special ground to play at, incredible atmosphere, it's sold out, nothing better than playing England at Twickenham.

"I'm really looking forward to it," the 25-year-old added.

Genia has played two of his 50 Tests at Twickenham, scoring a try in the Wallabies' 18-9 win in 2009 before returning the following year for a 35-18 defeat.

"I've played them twice here and we won well and lost quite convincingly in the other Test," said Genia.

"From what I remember they are just always very good contests. You've got to take points when they are on offer otherwise the opposition get momentum."

While Australia come into the match battle-hardened, having scored a creditable 33 points albeit in a 41-33 defeat by New Zealand in Dunedin earlier this month, Saturday's match will be England's first of the new European season.

But Genia insisted this wouldn't be a huge advantage for Australia.

"I'm not going to disrespect them [England] by saying that. We know as a rugby nation they are very proud so they will come together ready to play.

"There's no point making excuses now because if things don't go off for us, we're starting off on the wrong foot.

"We are preparing as if they've been together and their combinations are sound so we give ourselves every opportunity to play very well."

The Queensland Reds star added: "It's very tough but all the big teams over here are tough - we played Scotland in 2009 and we lost."