Jake Gordon doesn’t feel like he’s gunning for his mate’s job, despite making an impact off the bench against the Brumbies.
The scrumhalf replaced Waratahs starter Nick Phipps in the 51st minute of NSW’s 28-12 loss to the Brumbies, scoring his maiden Super Rugby try 12 minutes later.
Phipps cut a disappointed figure walking to the pine and coach Daryl Gibson said post-match that changes were needed to get themselves out of a 1-3 hole.
Gordon said he wasn’t waiting for Phipps to trip up so he could have a starting opportunity.
“Nick’s a really good mate of mine, I don’t really look at it like that,” he said.
“I think he’s the ultimate competitor, trains so hard, plays so hard, I think I definitely don’t look at it like that. I think he’ll bounce back and be really good again next week.”
Gordon started ahead of Phipps in the side’s final trial last month, with defence coach Nathan Grey at the time declaring the nine spot up for grabs.
The Wallabies backup, Phipps, has started in all but one game since then, with a rolled ankle the only reason he didn’t run on in round two, with Matt Lucas taking his spot.
Lucas has deputised for Phipps in two of their matches, before Gordon was favoured against the Brumbies and the latter said there was no hard feelings in any changes.
“I think it’s just (about) being ready when the opportunity comes,” he said.
“We’re all mates in the backline, we’re all really good friends.
“You don’t hope that that sort of stuff happens, you just want to get better a a collective.”
Regardless of whether it’s starting or on the bench, a regular matchday involvement looms for Gordon, in his third season as part of the Waratahs’ wider setup.
“I think my first year that I was here I was just trying to learn the straps and just trying to figure out how the Waratahs actually worked,” he said.
“I think this year training and on the field I’ve just been a bit more competitive and more confident.”
Gordon is off-contract this season and could certainly be in demand but the 23-year-old said he hadn’t thought about his future much.
The Waratahs take on the Rebels on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT.