Source: NZ Newswire, Rugby365
The desperation in Australia to turn around a four-match losing streak has reached such a dire stage even their best players are now in the firing line.
The Wallabies have failed to fire in three losses since Ewen McKenzie took over as coach, with the team copping plenty of heat following last week’s record 12-38 belting by South Africa in Brisbane.
Scrumhalf Will Genia, who aside from South Africa’s Fourie du Preez is regarded as the game’s foremost No.9, is in the cross hairs of critics looking to find a scapegoat for the team’s dismal run. And it is reported from Down Under that Genia is set to be benched and replaced as Wallaby skipper by No.8 Ben Mowen for Saturday’s Test against Argentina.
Media analyst and former Wallaby Greg Martin is leading the charge to have Genia removed.
Genia has struggled to produce his best form in the six Tests this year, apart from the odd moment of individual brilliance. Clearly frustrated at his team’s error rate, McKenzie faces some big calls for Saturday’s clash with the Pumas in Perth. Martin hinted at some inside knowledge on Tuesday as he declared captain Genia would be dumped in favour of Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White when the team is announced on Wednesday.
And with regular skipper James Horwill still nursing a hamstring injury, Brumbies skipper Mowen could be in line to captain the side.
“He [McKenzie] talked about dumbing things down – maybe they’re playing too complex a game plan,” Martin told The Grill Team on Triple M radio. “They’ve got a Test in Perth against Argentina on Saturday – they will be dropping Will Genia to the bench and replacing him with Nic White. “Ben Mowen, playing No.8, will become the new captain of the Wallabies.”
Genia’s halfback partner, flyhalf Quade Cooper, is also under pressure after an indifferent performance on his long-awaited return to the starting No.10 role against the Springboks. “No word on Quade Cooper, but they’re thinking about getting rid of him and putting Toomua back at flyhalf,” said Martin.
That could produce an all-Brumbies inside back contingent of White, Toomua and inside centre Christian Leali’ifano.
A loss to Argentina on home soil would be calamitous for the Wallabies, whose losing run is costing them fans in the crowded Australian sporting market.