Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is pleased to have scrum-half Will Genia back in camp for the next three weeks, and for now that’s all it will be.
Genia’s French club, Stade Français, is obligated to release him for Australia’s Tests against Scotland, France and Ireland.
The flashpoint may come, though, if the Wallabies still have a chance of a Grand Slam on December 3 at Twickenham, a match that falls outside the international window.
Cheika said there was no thought yet as to whether they would push to have Genia in the final Test if that milestone that has eluded the Wallabies since 1984 was on the line.
“I think it’s irrelevant because right now the only game where the grand slam is up, is Scotland,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.
“At the end of the day, that’s the international window. Everyone knows it. We know when we set up Test matches outside the window, you’ve got to live with that.”
Genia’s view was similarly black and white, returning to the camp after playing for the Wallabies through the Rugby Championship.
“I’m available for three games, that’s all I’ve been told so I’m here for this week, the French week and then Ireland,” he said.
“I’m just doing as I’m told.”
Genia’s releases this season have been a lot smoother than that of some of his other Test team-mates, with Toulon the most notorious for making access to its players complicated.
It’s a situation the 28-year-old said he was especially appreciative of, given the difficulties others have faced, both in Australia and abroad.
““I’m grateful he’s (Stade president Thomas Savare) allowed me to come here and still be part of the group, because we’ve got a couple of injuries at Stade Françcais, we’ve only got two available halfbacks,” he added.
“It’s still a big thing for him to let me come so I’m very grateful.
“I appreciate it even more that I’ve got a good club, good people who work there, and they’re very understanding so it’s worked out well for me.”
While he’s clearly a wanted Wallabies player, Genia was adamant he didn’t feel entitled to simply slot back into the starting team against Scotland.
“I watched the game last night, I thought he (Nick Phipps) played very well,” he said.
“I thought all the boys played very well, particularly that first half.
“It looked clinical, it looked sharp and the boys played it at pace, which looked really good.
“For me, coming into camp, I don’t expect anything other than the fact that I’ve got to work hard to earn a spot, whether it be my spot being here in the squad full stop or playing in the match day 23.
“So, that was my attitude coming back when I came back for the Rugby Championship and that hasn’t changed for me joining the camp now.”
Having been an observer of the Australia-Wales game, Genia said the skills that the Wallabies had been working on, with the addition of national skills coach Mick Byrne to the staff
“He works quite hard on off-loading skills and catch-pass skills, I think you could see a bit of that during the game against Wales in Cardiff,” he explained.
“It’s nice to see, from his point of view and the team’s point of view, that those things are paying off.
“More than anything it shows we can keep working hard on those things and keep getting better.”