Phipps returns for Waratahs-Reds clash

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps will play his first Super Rugby match of 2018 on Saturday, named to face the Reds.

Phipps, who made his return from a preseason calf injury in the Shute Shield for Sydney Uni last weekend, has had a frustrating start to the year, facing numerous setbacks.

The 29-year-old will play off the bench against the Reds, with Jake Gordon starting at nine, after an impressive match against the Sunwolves.

"It's been a long hard road for him. he's had 6-8 weeks of nearly being there," Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.

"He's finally passed fit - he's had a good trot last week with Sydney Uni and I think he's ready."

Nick Phipps bagged a hat-trick for Sydney Uni. Photo: AJF PhotographyPhipps is the only change to the Waratahs' 23 from their 50-29 win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo, but Gibson said there was still plenty of improvement to be done on the defensive side of their game as they prepare for the Reds.

"Defensively we're still conceding far too many tries, particularly putting a lot of pressure on ourselves through our own poor ball control at times, and that's something we talked about," he said.

"We're steeling ourselves for what's going to be a really physical encounter.

"We see both teams really trying to transform themselves into a really competitive teams and that's what we're expecting as well."

The match will be played at the SCG, the first rugby game there since 1983, but Gibson said that won't be any kind of obstacle.

"It's going to be new for everyone," he said.

"Once you get over the fact it's a different ground, it's still rectangle and we're looking forward to what will be a very physical encounter."

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

TEAM

IN: Nick Phipps

OUT: Mitch Short

1. Tom Robertson

2. Damien Fitzpatrick

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Ned Hanigan

5. Rob Simmons

6. Will Miller

7. Michael Hooper

8. Michael Wells

9. Jake Gordon

10. Bernard Foley

11. Taqele Naiyaravoro

12. Kurtley Beale

13. Curtis Rona

14. Alex Newsome

15. Bryce Hegarty

Reserves

16. Hugh Roach

17. Harry Johnson-Holmes

18. Paddy Ryan

19. Tom Staniforth

20. Jed Holloway

21. Nick Phipps

22. Lalakai Foketi

23. Cameron Clark