Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps unsure if he has done enough to get Wallabies nod

Nick Phipps says he hopes Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie continues to follow form with selection in Australia’s three-Test hit-out against France this month.
Nanjing Night Net

The Waratahs halfback refused to talk up his claim for higher honours, even after being voted players’ player by his teammates for an outstanding effort against the Chiefs in New Plymouth on Saturday.

Phipps said contributing to the Waratahs’ mounting finals hopes has meant more to him than hype surrounding his Test selection chances. But he admitted McKenzie’s public comments that form was king in the race for Wallabies selections had driven a lot of his work for the Waratahs this season.

“The message that form is so important from Ewen is something that’s been important to me and it’s been driving not just me but a lot of boys on,” Phipps said. “If I was given the opportunity, you know how honoured I’d be. The player I am this year, compared to last year or the year before that, is a lot different. If I get a chance I’d love it but, at the end of the day, it’s something that’s for people who are a lot smarter than me to decide.”

As teammate Paddy Ryan was called up to replace injured Test tighthead Ben Alexander (neck) in the Wallabies squad to face France this week, Phipps said the 12 NSW players who went into camp on Sunday would continue to work hard with the Waratahs and a coveted finals spot in mind.

“[The Test window] is a bit of a staller but it gives some of the boys who’ve been working their butts off all year another opportunity at international level,” he said. “We’ve talked about whoever’s picked working hard and the boys at home working hard, because we don’t want to stall that momentum when we come back. We play the Brumbies and we want to be firing and back to our best brand of football.”

In the final round of the regular season before the three-week Test window, all three potential Test halfbacks were in commanding form. Will Genia, plagued all season by form issues and the Reds’ fading finals hopes, turned out a season-best performance against the Highlanders on Friday, before Phipps and Brumbies rival Nic White also produced decisive games. Phipps has peaked nicely heading into the three-Test series against France, but refused to countenance any desire for higher honours.

“It’s good timing for the Tahs,” he said. “Being able to contribute something is more satisfying to me than people talking about higher selection honours. I’m just stoked that the Tahs are going well. We’re second on the table still and that’s something that all the boys are really happy about, being able to contribute. We’re sitting in top two now but there are three games left that are massive for us.”

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