Will Genia has laughed off criticism of European-based Wallabies and says those who are in the team deserve to be there.
The 28-year-old, who plays his club rugby for Stade Francais in Paris, has re-established himself as Australia’s first-choice halfback after missing the three-Test series against England in June due to a knee injury.
Along with winger Drew Mitchell, Genia is one of just two remaining players in Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship who don’t play in Super Rugby.
They were originally joined by Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, who have since returned to their clubs.
The four Test veterans faced suggestions they may be blocking the pathway for future Wallabies and questions about whether they’re still up to international standard.
“Apparently we’re too old, too slow and don’t have anything to offer,” Genia said.
“That’s just people’s opinions at the end of the day.
“People speak about us bringing back experience but we’ve got to be playing well enough to be selected so we can contribute to the team.
“If the coaches and selectors didn’t think we were good enough we wouldn’t be here.”
Genia’s return has shunted Nick Phipps to the bench while Nick Frisby, his former protege at the Queensland Reds, widely seen as the next long-term Wallaby No.9, hasn’t played since the England series.
Genia was among the stronger performers in Australia’s two Bledisloe Cup defeats and proved he still has some of his pace with an eye-catching late break against the All Blacks in Wellington.
“I had a good seven months off before playing that first game and my knee feels really good,” he said.
“Physically and mentally I feel like I’m in a good space, I’ll just keep trucking along.
“I feel like I’m going alright but at the end of the day, we’ve still come up short.”