Genia hoping to add polish to Wallabies' performance
THE late Colin Meads growled dismay when he first heard of All Blacks shaving their legs and now Will Genia is the first Wallaby to play a Test in nail polish.
Those who have noticed a splash of red on Genia's left hand are not mistaken ... he's daubed his nails as a playful nod to two-year-old daughter Olivia.
Former Wallaby Chris Latham once made an "A" finger sign to the TV cameras after scoring a try to acknowledge daughter Ashley, Fijian sevens wizard Waisale Serevi had boots with the names of his kids written on them and countless players pen family names on wrist bandages.
Genia has gone an extra step because a left hand with nail polish had to draw a question at the media conference in Cardiff before his Test return from a calf injury against Wales on Sunday morning (AEST).
"My daughter painted them one time and did a real bad job," Genia said with a laugh at a fashion statement that escaped detection throughout the Rugby Championship.
"I did the job for her, just something for Olivia. Cute though."
Genia can progress to fake nails if he likes as long as he brings his bullet pass to Millennium Stadium to give his outside supports an extra second when the Welsh defenders start rushing with their pressure tactics.
It's the sort of Test where the return of experienced halves Genia (79 Tests) and Bernard Foley (52) will be invaluable after injury and illness sidelined them in Japan last weekend.
"I'm back to 100 per cent and really happy to be out there bouncing around in full training for the first time in two weeks," Genia said after his run on the artificial turf at Cardiff Arms Park.
Genia said the call to unite two 100kg-plus centres against Wales, with Samu Kerevi selected beside Tevita Kuridrani, had balance because of the ballplayers around them.
"They gave us nice go-forward against Japan and that's something we want to take into this weekend," Genia said.
"It works well with Kurtley (Beale) chiming in from fullback as a second ballplayer (with Foley) and it allows us that extra big body in the centres."
Genia detailed how Kerevi had rediscovered his decisive style after doubts had crept in during difficult times this season.
"I room with Samu all the time and he got stuck in a cycle where he questioned everything ... should I do this or that, should I go up or sit back," Genia said.
"I just told him 'If you've done the work, don't question yourself, just back yourself to make the right decisions'."
The Welsh have elected to play with two ballplayers too with one-cap rookie Owen Williams at inside centre beside regular five-eighth Dan Biggar.
Playing Wales without 110kg midfielder Jamie Roberts is a change-up.
"Traditionally, it's crash-and-bash but for the first time they've gone with the two ballplayers. We'll obviously see a different picture so we're doing work to see what we can anticipate," Genia said.
Coach Michael Cheika said Williams would be a handful beside Welsh danger man Jonathan Davies, the centre who was named man-of-the-series for the British and Irish Lions against the All Blacks earlier this year.
"He (Williams) has got a good kicking game, good footwork and he'll threaten our defence for sure with a running game. Davies is an excellent player and a threat more than ever," Cheika said.
While the nine tries scored by the Wallabies to beat Japan made all the highlight packages on TV, Cheika was more concerned with improving a key area not captured so readily.
"We were taken to town at the ruck by Japan because we lost half a dozen of our balls," Cheika said.
"If you want to play attacking footy you've got to own those rucks and we are very focused there for this Test."