Club competition holds Philip in good stead

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Going toe-to-toe with Adam Coleman at Force training has new Wallabies lock Matt Philip feeling ready for anything, as he prepares for his first Spring Tour.

Philip was one of the surprise call-ups into the 32-man Spring Tour squad, rewarded for a sensational Super Rugby season in Perth, backed up by a star NRC turn.

The 199cm second rower has learned from one of the most consistent locks in Australian rugby in the past two seasons in Coleman and believes that’s been a major help for him.

Philip is a very real chance of earning game time, with a lengthy second row casualty list leaving just Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman as capped locks available for Saturday’s clash with Japan.

If the 23-year-old does have a chance to step up to the next level on tour, he certainly won’t be shying away from the tough stuff.

“Training against 'Adsy' all year, it's been awesome,” he said.

“If you can pick a fight with him at training, no one is going to really rattle you in the competition, he's the biggest and scariest out there, isn't he?”

Philip prides himself on putting his body on the line, a characteristic that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika loves in his forwards, especially. 

"I've worked a lot on my ball carrying and tried to show a bit of physicality. ( this season)," he said.

"When I watched locks when I was younger, I always used to like the ones that got really physical with the opposition and stood out and imposed themselves as a bit of an enforcer on the field.

"I'm still quite young so it's a hard role to undertake but that's what I've tried to do throughout the year.

“I think he (Cheika) likes that bit of agro, bit of physicality and that mentality.

“It's definitely something I enjoy doing so I’ll try and put that out on the training paddock today.”

While a four-week tour of Japan and the UK is a pretty nice perk when it comes to playing rugby, Philip said he was more excited about the chance to just be a part of the Test squad.

“I think I’m just more stoked to be training with some of the players here, being in the Wallabies gear and learning part of their system,” he said.

“I’ve already learned heaps in the first two days.”

Philip was back on the Central Coast after his tour with the Barbarians when he got the call to hot foot it back to Sydney.

“I got the call, had to repack my bag and get back to Rushcutters Bay so it was pretty surreal,” he said.

Philip is yet to make a public call on his destination in 2018, but is believed to be among a number of Force players looking at following coach Dave Wessels to the Rebels.

Australia flies out to Japan on Tuesday night, ahead of Saturday’s historic first Test in Yokohama against the Brave Blossoms.

The Wallabies take on Japan on Saturday November 4 in Yokohama, kicking off at 2:40pm local, 4:40pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.