Phipps reinstated as club captain, Waratahs pick and stick for Brumbies

The Waratahs have reinstated halfback Nick Phipps as club captain, after standing him down for more than two months.

Phipps was suspended from the position in May, after news emerged of the scrumhalf urinating on a Sydney bar during his bucks' night, with no timeline set on his return to the spot.

Though the role is not an on-field one, Phipps plays a big part in the team's off-field culture and Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he felt the 29-year-old had been punished enough, opting to reinstate him ahead of last week's clash with the Sunwolves.


"I think the timing was right," he said.

"We felt he'd served his punishment and the timing was right for him to come back and I think just in the last two weeks having him fully reinstated in that position has been a real bonus for the team."

Gibson has named an unchanged lineup for this weekend's final regular season match against the Brumbies as they look to secure second spot on the Super Rugby ladder and semi-final hosting rights.

"Since the Rebels game it's been part of our strategy is to try and keep as many combinations together," he said.

"It's up to those players to really earn that through their performances and we feel as a coaching team that they're doing that and deserving their spot.

"Obviously, anything can change as we run onto the finals but I think it's a real vote of confidence for them."

The Brumbies have named a super-sized team for the match, with Rory and Richie Arnold to start but Gibson said his forward pack wouldn't be worried despite being outsized.

"I think a lot's been made of our lightweight pack all year," he said.

"We're not the biggest team and I felt we've competed very well in that area, given those limitations.

"There's no surprise they've named a big side - that's probably an area that they'll target and then also we've seen with the Brumbies their willingness to play with the ball in hand.

"We know through statistics they're one of the lowest-kicking teams, they like to hold possession.

It should make for a really entertaining game on the weekend."

Michael Hooper watches on after suffering a hamstring injury. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe clock is still ticking for captain Michael Hooper as he tries to recover from a hamstring injury in time for the knockout stages.

Hooper ran for the first time on Thursday, more than two weeks after injuring the muscle in the third Wallabies Test, but Gibson said there was no guarantee he would be fit for their quarter-final.

"He's very energised by that, he's desperate to try and make the finals series and he's doing everything he can to be there," he said.

"He's still got a long way to go, but running today that's a real positive for him.

"Who knows where it'll end up but he's certainly doing everything he can to be there."

The Waratahs host the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.