SYDNEY Nov 23 With the future of Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper still uncertain, there was some good news for the Wallabies on Friday when his halfback partner Will Genia signed a new three-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).
Nominated for World Player of the Year award in 2011, Genia is widely regarded as one of the best scrumhalves in rugby and securing his services through the 2015 World Cup was no great surprise but still a boost to the embattled ARU.
The 24-year-old Queensland Red, who missed Australia's ongoing tour of Europe with a knee injury, said he was delighted to commit himself for three more seasons, particularly with the British and Irish Lions tour coming up next year.
"This is definitely where I want to be, playing for Queensland and Australia," Genia said in a media release.
"My focus now is on getting the knee right, getting fit and getting back out on the field for the Reds and the ... Wallabies.
"Next year is a big year, there are big things happening in Queensland and of course it will be a huge year for the Wallabies.
"The Lions tour is a once in a career opportunity and it is certainly one of the reasons behind wanting to stay in Australia."
Genia has won 40 test caps since his debut in 2009, many of them in tandem with fellow Queensland Reds player Cooper, who was reported to have walked away from rugby union on Monday after being offered a "rookie contract" by the ARU.
Cooper, who last month was fined A$40,000 ($41,600)for describing the Wallabies set-up as "toxic", is set to hold a press conference in Brisbane on Monday to announce his future plans.
($1 = 0.9623 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)