Genia fighting for respect

Date published: September 22 2015

Australia scrum-half Will Genia said the team's primary objective at this year's World Cup would be to win back the respect of the rugby fraternity.

Australia are the only team in Pool A yet to play a match at 2015's tournament and will open their campaign against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday. The Wallabies are the current holders of the Rugby Championship and have recorded four victories in their last five matches.

However, there are many who still doubt the team's World Cup credentials and it is that element of doubt which has fuelled Genia's desire to lift the Webb Ellis trophy in 2015.

"Obviously we haven't had the best rap as far as the perception around the country is," Genia told the Canberra Times on Tuesday.

"When you don't do well everyone is ready to jump on the bandwagon and bag [the Wallabies]," added Genia.

"I think this is a really good opportunity for us, on the biggest stage of them all, to play well, to make the country proud and bring back those fans who have drifted away from the game.

"It will go a long way to gaining some respect back. I've been around a little while and it hurts every time guys kick you when you're down and bag you," said Genia, who has himself had to work particularly hard to win over the favour of national selectors in recent years."

Genia said it was critical that the Australian rugby fraternity backs the Wallabies at this year's tournament, but also acknowledged that the national rugby team needed to earn that respect too.

"I don't really care what people say about me, but it's more a case of what they say about the team, about what things have happened in the past," he said.

"They don't back us, they don't believe in us and that hurts. That's something that is driving me personally to want to do well, to gain that respect and credibility back."