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McKenzie keeps form promise

Afp
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

GOLD COAST - Australia's rugby players are on notice after Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie delivered on his promise form would be king when it came to team selections.

Will Genia and James Horwill, two of McKenzie's generals during his tenure as Queensland Reds coach, were the big losers when the team to play France in Saturday's first Test in Brisbane was named yesterday.

Nic White will replace Genia, who couldn't even find a spot on the reserves bench, in a new-look halves pairing alongside Waratah Bernard Foley.

Former Wallabies skipper Horwill has also paid the price for the Reds' poor Super Rugby campaign, demoted to the bench with 24-year-old bolter Sam Carter named at lock in what will be his debut Test.

"There's lots of components that go into selection and each position has got its bits and pieces," McKenzie said.

"In the end we looked for consistency. We've always flagged that it's about performance over time.

"Fundamentally we've focused on guys we think are in form and have been playing consistently well."

McKenzie said Genia was understandably disappointed with his axing, particularly after being left out of the squad altogether with Nick Phipps named as the replacement halfback.

He said the 55-Test scrumhalf was aware of what he would need to improve to regain his position.

"We saw a much better performance from him the other day," McKenzie said in relation to Genia's display in the Reds' victory over the Highlanders last weekend.

"I've made it pretty clear about the bits and pieces in the game for all the players in the squad, about where we wanted to improve, sometimes it's just little things but you've got to be at the peak of your powers.

"Players set a standard for themselves and obviously you reference it against that."

White will be making his third Test start while Foley will be starting a Test for the first time after four appearances off the bench last year.


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