Wallabies halfback Will Genia says he hasn’t thought about the national team captaincy in the wake of Ben Mowen’s shock decision to leave Australian rugby at the end of the 2014 season.
Mowen, who was named Wallabies skipper by coach Ewen McKenzie during last year’s European tour, will head to France in what he says is a family-first decision.
Genia, along with Reds teammates James Horwill and Quade Cooper, is among those being mooted as replacements for Mowen if McKenzie, as expected, names a new captain for this year’s Tests.
The 25-year-old is enjoying his first week of Super Rugby pre-season with the Reds after an end-of-year break and says the Queenslanders are his first priority at the moment.
“At the end of the day my focus is just here with the Reds,” Genia said.
“Captaincy, all those sort of things don’t worry me at this stage. It’s just about rolling up and doing as well as I can for the club.”
Genia wouldn’t be drawn on whether players who decide to take up offers overseas including Mowen or good friend Digby Ioane should still be considered for Wallabies selection.
He said players know what they’re sacrificing when they make such a decision and it’s a personal call whether you’re willing to give up a Wallabies jersey.
“I’ve played with Ben and as a teammate I respect his decision, I admire the courage it’s taken to make a decision like that,” he said.
“It’s obviously well publicised the cash on offer and things like that but it’s individual circumstances, what’s important to each individual player.
“I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say guys go overseas and want to still play for the Wallabies … but the policies are put in place that if you make that decision to go overseas you understand that you forfeit that right.
“The players that have done so, have done so willingly.”
Reds coach Richard Graham says Genia and Horwill, who lost the Wallabies captaincy to Mowen in November, must be considered for the role later in the year.
But he also believes mercurial playmaker Cooper isn’t without a hope of completing a remarkable transformation from rugby outsider to national team captain.
“Quade’s been a leader here over the last four years and the way that he leads a game, he led the team very well last year against the British and Irish Lions,” Graham said.
“That’s a decision that I don’t make and there’s a lot of rugby to be played before that decision will be made.”