Will Genia joins Melbourne Rebels as part of Australian rugby deal

Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia has returned to Australian rugby for the next two seasons, but he will start a new Super Rugby chapter with Melbourne Rebels.

Genia has spent the last two seasons playing in France and had hoped for a return to Brisbane where he won a Super Rugby title with Queensland Reds in 2011.

But the Reds had already filled the halfback spots on their roster, prompting Genia to look elsewhere. And with Western Force now cut from Super Rugby, the Rebels were the only real option for Genia in Australia.

"I'm very much looking forward to making an impact at the Melbourne Rebels," Genia said via a Rebels press release. "First and foremost my job is to perform and contribute with my playing ability and assist the team in achieving success.

"After that it's a great opportunity to bring my experience and the knowledge I've acquired over the years to help with the club moving forward. It's also an exciting opportunity to make a greater impact on rugby in Australia with a new club that still has so much to achieve."

While Genia attempted to once again find a home at the Reds, it became clear early on that ambition would not be possible. The Reds issued a press release shortly after news of Genia's deal with the Rebels broke, explaining how the Australian Rugby Union's salary cap prevented them from signing the veteran Wallabies No.9.

"Given Will's contribution to Queensland Rugby and the Reds, we obviously had considerable interest in him returning," Queensland Rugby Unions chief executive Richard Barker said. "However, we quite simply could not afford the figures presented to us by the ARU under the salary cap rules. The ARU, Will and his representative have been fully aware of this from the outset of discussions.

"This issue highlights the great divide between the professional game and the grass roots in this country - a divide the QRU is committed to improving.

"We've already announced the signing of a number of good developing younger players from our pathway - including halfbacks - for 2018 and beyond.

"As a sport, we can't continue to live beyond our means. We cannot risk a salary cap breach and we are committed to the ARU's current contracting rules."