Phipps to help Tahs run

Sat, 16 Mar 2013 06:14
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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is hoping that new scrumhalf Nick Phipps will help his team play a more attacking brand of rugby.
 

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika is hoping that new scrumhalf Nick Phipps will help his team play a more attacking brand of rugby.

The 24-year-old Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf has signed a deal that will see him return to his home state in 2014 and pull on the sky blue jersey for the next two seasons.

Phipps made his Test debut against Samoa in 2011 and has since earned 12 caps, including starting in eight out of the Wallabies' last nine matches.

Having committed to re-establishing New South Wales reputation for attacking, running rugby, Cheika says Phipps is well-suited to the team's new identity.

"Nick is a good threatening, attacking player," said Cheika.

"He's good all round, in attack, in defence and with his kicking game; he's a quality player and I think that he's still got a lot of potential to fulfill. That makes for very good competition in the No.9 position."

A product of Sydney University and the Australian Sevens programme, Phipps followed his Sydney University backs coach Damian Hill to Victoria to play for the newly-formed Melbourne Rebels.  

After making his Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs in the team's inaugural Super Rugby match in February 2011, he first represented his country in the IRB Sevens World Series in 2010 and also attended that year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, sharing in Australia's silver medal-winning performance.  

His breakthrough year was complete when he gained selection for the Wallabies, featuring in a mid-week game against Munster.

After making his international debut against Samoa in July 2011, Phipps went on to feature in the opening match of that year's successful Tri Nations campaign against South Africa in Sydney, before appearing against Russia in the 2011 World Cup.  

Capped 12 times by his country, with nine of the appearances coming last year; Phipps says the lure of attending a second World Cup in 2015 was too good to turn down.

"It's definitely in the back of my mind," he said of the next World Cup that will be played in England.

"Obviously there is a lot that can happen between now and then but I'm enjoying my rugby at the moment, and enjoying playing in Australia."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans welcomed the decision, saying Phipps had shown last year he had the ability to claim a regular position on the Test stage.

"Nick had a lot asked of him last year. The way he performed was encouraging, and he will only be better for that experience," Deans said.

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