Phipps targeting Japan return

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Nick Phipps has been hoping for a 'next week' return since Super Rugby preseason, but this time the halfback is confident it's true.

It's now been seven weeks since he suffered a preseason calf injury, and though he isn't ready to return for this Saturday's derby against the Brumbies, he's eyeing off their round eight clash against the Sunwolves.

"I'd be right to play for a little bit but the risk is if someone goes down in the first few minutes, I wouldn't be able to," he told RUGBY.com.au at a CMC trading positions event.

"I don't really have the load in me yet to last that long.

"So, the plan is this week is to go down and cover the boys in the warm up and just being water boy from then.

Jake Gordon wants to impress in the Waratahs' final trial. Photo: Getty Images"(Waratahs coach) Daryl was just like, 'Mate, I don't want to risk it'.

"It's good they're all looking after me but I'm itching to get out there."

The Waratahs play the Sunwolves in Tokyo next weekend and Phipps has a target squarely on a return in that game.

"I tore it but it was just a lot worse than they originally," he said.

"Originally, they were like, 'Yeah, you'll be back for the third trial,' and pretty much every week after that it's been like, 'Next week, next week, next week,' so now it really is next week.

Phipps' fellow nine, Jake Gordon, is set to return for NSW this weekend, after missing the round five win over the Rebels with concussion.

"I'm fully recovered now," he said.

"It probably took a little bit longer than I thought at first but now the symptoms are completely gone and I'm ready to play on the weekend if chosen."

Randwick halfback Mitch Short has shouldered the NSW load in Gordon and Phipps' absence and has been more than serviceable, pleasing both the sidelined halves.

"It's been different (being out) but it's been really interesting," Phipps said.

 

"It's great to see Shorty killing it - how he wasn't contracted at the beginning of the year, I wouldn't know."

 

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