Wallabies will 'batten down the hatches' in Brisbane: Phipps

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies will be ‘battening down the hatches’ next week as they bid to turn around a disastrous Rugby Championship start, according to halfback Nick Phipps.

Phipps played for Sydney Uni on Saturday in their victorious Shute Shield final but he didn’t have too much time to dwell on that win with camp around the corner.

A return to club rugby, where Phipps first made his rugby mark, was a timely one for the Waratahs nine after some tough weeks for the Wallabies.

The national squad reconvenes in Queensland on Sunday after a fortnight of intense criticism and Phipps said there would be a steely focus in camp.

The 29-year-old backed the under-fire coaching staff and players to turn things around, though there would be some ‘hard conversations’ to be had.

Sydney Uni took out the Shute Shield. Photo: Karen Watson“I think it's (the mindset) just ‘batten down the hatches’,” he said.

“We've obviously got a big job ahead of us.

“The boys have been stinging and stewing on it for a couple of weeks and I have no doubt the boys will be really, really excited to get in.

“(We’ve) got a few hard conversations to have over the next few days but in the long run we've got some work to do but I've got faith in not only the players but also the coaching staff.

“They're going to be right on it from day one.”

Phipps has had limited game time in recent weeks, deputising for Will Genia, but had a solid stint off the pine for Uni on Saturday and said it would do wonders for his mindset.

“It's good. It's been a tough few weeks, we obviously didn't perform the way we wanted to over the Bledisloe series and Cheik wants everyone to be getting game time,” he said.

“So, all the Queensland boys playing NRC, Melbourne and ours is the only game in NSW to be able to play.

“It's good for everyone to get a game, it's good to be coming back to the club where everyone enjoys training, they're having a great time and you can see that purism in the sport.

“I'm really looking forward to getting back into camp tomorrow and getting back with the boys and hopefully we'll be able to accomplish great things throughout the rest of the year.”

Hooker Tolu Latu also put in a big shift for the students, playing his first 80-minute match in recent memory.

Latu crashed over for a try in an impressive performance as part of a dominant Uni pack.

He said he hoped it would be enough to put him back up the pecking order come Test time though admitted there would be no guarantees.

“Eighty minutes, there's nothing like it,” he said.

“It's been a while since I've played 80 so it's good to get the win and hopefully off the back of that performance, I can take it into a good week of preparation next week and then moving forward into the South African Test.

“I haven't packed my bags so probably got to get home and start packing because we've got an early flight.

"(I’ll) get into the changerooms and enjoy the company of the lads and then shoot off home and get ready for next week.”

The Wallabies take on the Springboks in Brisbane on Saturday September 8, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.