The Wallabies' Will Genia during the Rugby Championships game between Argentina and Australia at Twickenham.
The Wallabies' Will Genia during the Rugby Championships game between Argentina and Australia at Twickenham. WILL OLIVER

Genia denied permission by club to play for country

STAR halfback Will Genia has been denied the chance to take the field for the Wallabies in their Spring Tour opener against Wales this weekend.

His French club, Stade Francais, has chosen not to release him.

Australia wanted the in-form playmaker - one of the stars of the Rugby Championship this year - to be available for the showdown at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday morning (12.30am AEST) but its request has reportedly been knocked back.

Genia qualifies for national duty with his 72 caps comfortably clearing the 60-Test threshold for overseas-based players.

But Stade Francais has no obligation to release him outside the official international window.

In Genia's absence, Nick Phipps is likely to deputise in the No.9 jersey, with Nick Frisby taking a place on the bench.

Genia will next rejoin the Wallabies squad ahead of their clash with Scotland in Edinburgh, and will be available for the subsequent fixtures against Ireland and France, but he may again be recalled by Stade Francais before Australia's season-ending Test against England.

Wales faced a similar clash at club level when high-profile backs George North and Jamie Roberts signed to English Premiership franchises that also were not permitted to make allowances for the "out-of-window” international fixtures.

But that matter was resolved with Premier Rugby Limited agreeing to release the players "as a gesture of flexibility”.



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