Genia commits to Australia, signs with Rebels for 2 years

In this photo from June 17, 2017, Australia's Will Genia, left, sidesteps Scotland's Finn Russell during their rugby union test match in Sydney. Wallabies scrumhalf Genia has signed a two-year deal to join the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby competition. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia has signed a two-year deal to join the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby competition

SYDNEY — Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia has signed a two-year deal to join the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby competition.

Genia played 114 Super Rugby matches for the Queensland Reds, including an instrumental role in their title-winning season in 2011, before joining Stade Francais for two seasons in France.

The 29-year-old Genia returned to Australia ahead of the international season and expressed an interest in rejoining the Reds but, after months of negotiations, has elected to join the struggling Melbourne franchise.

"It'll be a great chance to bring some of the things I've learned over the years to the club, and help drive the club forward," the 27-test veteran said. "I was always clear that I wanted to return to Australian Rugby. I love playing for my country and can't wait to have another opportunity to pull on the gold jersey."

Genia is vice-captain of the Australia squad preparing to open the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series this Saturday against the world champion New Zealand All Blacks.

The Rebels placed last in the Australian Super Rugby conference in the 2017 season and, until the Western Force was cut last week, was among the franchises the Australian Rugby Union was considering scrapping for 2018.

Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Richard Barker said the Reds wanted Genia but couldn't fit the veteran playmaker under the salary cap.

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