Nick Phipps working hard on and off the field

by Staff Writer

The Tower of London holds the British crown jewels, but Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps was focused on a different kind of diamond on a rare day off on Sunday.

Phipps spent the day in his room, working on a corporate innovation assignment

Studying a masters of International Business, Phipps forced many journalists into a hasty Google search on an unfamiliar business strategy when asked about his studies on Monday.

“I’m just doing a bit of uni in my spare time,” he said.

“I’m doing a big project on corporate innovation. I had to knuckle down and get a bit done yesterday so if you know anything about Hambrick- Fredrickson diamond strategy, let’s have a chat afterwards.”

While Phipps studied others went sightseeing and some players just hung around the hotel, recovering from the Saturday night’s win.

In a team of vastly different personalities, pride is one thing that has become a major thread through the side and it’s something Phipps finds hard to articulate.

“You just have to watch the boys playing ( to see it),” he said.

“People like Adam Ashley-Cooper rushing out of the line, Kurtley Beale getting head over the ball in dark places to get that penalty.

"You’ve got Ben McCalman and Bernard Foley holding blokes up over the line.

“That’s the sort of pride that you can see and how people play.

“That’s how we want to be perceived as a team.

“We want everyone back home to see the actual changes happening in the squad and have a lot of pride back home for what we’re doing.”

It’s that pride that kept them getting back up for contest after contest when they were two men down against Wales and that means their bench players, including Phipps, make an impact when they are injected.

And it’s something that showed in a whole squad jubilation after 80 minutes on Saturday.

“A lot of people are missing out on the opportunity to start and it doesn’t matter,” Phipps said.

“The strength of our group is after the game you could see all the blokes in suits fist pumping, running around, just as happy as anybody.

“The non-starters were on there just doing their bit.

“They’ve got 20 minutes to go nuts and they’ll do anything to impact the game.

"The group, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Stephen Moore or our assistant physio, everyone in the group is so streamlined in what we want to do.”

Phipps said the Wallabies’ mental strength has shown itself off the field as well, in their handling of the intense scrutiny that comes as the sport’s four-year cycle peaks.

In an competitive battle with Will Genia for the starting halfback spot, Phipps is well-versed in the scrutiny and analysis that comes with playing Test rugby but he said the side has only been galvanised under the World Cup spotlight.

“I think the strength you have as a unified group. you can’t beat it,” he said.

“A lot of other teams would have crumbled under that pressure on the weekend (and) the pressure of just the whole tournament as a whole.

“The group’s tightened up so much that we’re able to focus on ourselves and really get the job done on a weekend and that’s how we’re going to try and carry ourselves through the tournament."

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