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Wallabies' real test of culture is still to come, says Genia

That was then ... Will Genia and Quade Cooper after the Wallabies' loss to Ireland in the Rugby World Cup last year. Genia said the side is staying united.

That was then ... Will Genia and Quade Cooper after the Wallabies' loss to Ireland in the Rugby World Cup last year. Genia said the side is staying united. Photo: Getty Images

ARE the Wallabies a team divided or is Quade Cooper's claim of a toxic environment grossly overblown?

The truth, according to Will Genia, will be there for all to see on the pitch in Pretoria in three days.

While declining to talk directly about Cooper's comments, the injured Australian halfback mounted a passionate defence of his teammates' attitudes and said the best test of the Wallabies' culture was playing ''one of the biggest Test matches the group will face this year''.

''If you go over there and you play against South Africa in Pretoria and you're not all on the same page, you're not all buying into it, they'll get smashed to be honest,'' Genia said.

''But regardless of everything that happens, the boys do understand the privilege that they have in representing their country, we all do, and … they don't take that for granted.''

Genia's words, spoken from his couch in Brisbane where the one-time Wallabies captain is recovering from surgery to rebuild a ruptured knee ligament, are timely considering the turmoil sparked by Cooper's outbursts.

In the absence of an official response from Australian rugby administrators, message boards, fan forums, social media and website comments have lit up with, simultaneously, support and criticism for Cooper, criticism of coach Robbie Deans and general despair that Australian rugby has sunk to a public, albeit one-sided, slanging match.

Genia said he could only go by reports coming back from South Africa that things were running smoothly in camp, but that the trip away was the best thing for the team.

''They seem very focused, they seem like they're really enjoying their time over there and I think with everything that's happening it's obviously a good time for the boys to get away … you stick tight as a group and seem that little bit more focused and together,'' he said, quickly adding that the Wallabies jersey was as sacred a piece of fabric as it ever was.

''I would give the world to be playing right now, I would give the world to be back in that jersey … but from being in the group, no one takes it for granted.''

''Regardless of what's being said, whatever is being written, whatever anyone thinks, or anyone's opinion, we never take it for granted, it means the world to all of us.

''We may play poorly or not do as well as we want but we have a lot of pride in the jersey and in doing well for our country.''

Locking down a rogue impulse to kick away possession, plus pinpoint accuracy under the high ball, would give the Wallabies the chance they needed to start well against the Boks, the Reds vice-captain said.

He defended the side's attack - another criticism of Cooper's - which has struggled to find rhythm as the team rotated through three different playmakers.

''There hasn't been much stability in terms of combinations … having [Pat McCabe] come back gives us a lot more punch in our midfield and direct, hard running, which gets us over the advantage line,'' Genia said.

''If you take out the kick-happy approach we used against Argentina and give ourselves a chance I think the attack will start to work to be honest.''

Two weeks into a six- to nine-month rehabilitation process, Genia said it had been very difficult to watch from home as the team pulled off their come-from-behind victory against the Pumas.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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