Wallabies confident of Genia recovery

Melissa Woods
The Wallabies are confident Will Genia will recover from his knee injury in time to face Ireland

The Wallabies have full faith injured star Will Genia will recover in time for next month's Test series against Ireland but are looking at one of his Melbourne Rebels teammates as a back-up.

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham says Michael Ruru is in the selection mix, turning up the heat on his Super Rugby clash with Brumbies No.9 and Test incumbent Joe Powell in Canberra on Saturday night.

Larkham says he's certain Genia will recover from his knee injury in time to face the Six Nations champions, with the first Test in Brisbane on June 9.

"We'll have to see how the rehab progresses but I'm a hundred per cent confident (he'll play)," Larkham said.

"Without putting a time frame on it, I think there's the potential to play some Super Rugby before we get to the Test season."

Kiwi-born Ruru only made his Super Rugby debut with the Western Force last season but the 27-year-old has impressed with his physicality, with his Rebels coach Dave Wessels earlier this season saying he has some "pig dog" about him.

Long-time Genia understudy Nick Phipps can also press his claims this weekend after being named for his first start of the season against the table-topping Crusaders in Christchurch.

"At the moment, there's a few guys putting their hands up," Larkham said.

"Down in Melbourne, there's obviously Michael Ruru, who has been on the radar for a while so it will be interesting to watch his next couple of rounds.

"Then there's Nick Phipps, who is coming back into the Waratahs set-up, Jake Gordon's been playing some really good football there and Joe Powell is sort of the incumbent from the tour last year."

The other backline position of interest is outside centre, with Larkham admitting the lack of depth and form there is a concern.

"Yeah, that's an issue - teams are rotating a number of players through that position at the moment, except for maybe the Brumbies, who have had Tevita (Kuridrani) there all year.

"There's Samu Kerevi and Kuridrani, who are both having OK years.

"Then you look at the other squads, Chris Feauai-Sautia has impressed there as well.

"They're probably the pick and then you've guys like Reece Hodge that can potentially fill in for that role if we need some extra coverage there.

"I think there's enough experience and skill in those four to give us someone good at 13."