Nick Phipps feels his World Cup chances are far from over as he prepares to return to the Shute Shield this weekend.
Phipps and fellow NSW halfback Jake Gordon missed out on the Wallabies’ 34-man squad with Will Genia, Nic White and Joe Powell heading to Africa this week.
The pair will be playing for Sydney Uni in the Shute Shield on Saturday against Easts, while fellow World Cup aspirant Ned Hanigan will be starting for Randwick.
White’s return to the Wallabies fold has made the race for World Cup halfback spots as tight as ever but Phipps said he hadn’t lost hope of returning to the squad for Japan.
“There's so much competition for spots at the moment that's across positions I guess. It's my turn, unfortunately, to sit out,” he said.
“But I'm realistic, I know there's no way that's definitely going to be the final makeup of the squad so I'm just going to stay hungry and I’m excited to play some footy and I'm sure i"ll have opportunities down the track to get back in there.”
The 30-year-old said in some ways this speed bump was befitting of his journey since becoming a professional player.
“I've hardly had the smoothest career in my 10 years so it'd only be fitting for me to have just a little challenge and make me have to force my way back into the squad, so it's exciting times really.
“The silver lining is that I get to play some good footy, spend a bit of extra time with the family before the end of the year where we're going to be away together the whole time.
“There's a lot of footy to be played before then.”
The competition doesn’t stop at Wallabies camp for Phipps, who is also clubmates with Gordon and both will be suiting up for Sydney Uni against Easts on Saturday.
Gordon will be starting this weekend but the pair are planning on splitting game time equally, in the unique situation of both being in club rugby at the same time.
“We're having a really good time together, we're great mates off the field, we've been rolling the idea of tossing the coin to see who will start,” Phipps laughed.
“We just want to play 40 each a game and have some fun there and for me especially because I'm leaving (Australian rugby), I want to try and help Jake out as much as possible, try and give him every little bit of experience that I can so that he can lock that down now and then build his own experiences later.
“I certainly see him as a consistent Wallaby in the future and if I can help him - Cheik gave him a bit of feedback about what he needs to improve - and if I can help improve that for the years ahead then I'll be really happy.”
Phipps and Gordon have been training with the other NSW-based extended Wallabies squad members as they work to try and push themselves back into the main squad.
“It's good because as a player - we both know what we need to work on so we've got lots of time together- even this morning we had Wallaby training until about 11:30 and then we did a fair bit of extras on our kicking and passing and stuff that we need to work on.
“It's really handy that we've got each other to lean on because obviously got some disappointing news last week but for the both of us as far as we're concerned it's not done yet.”
That the pair can return to Shute Shield is a positive for Phipps, giving the scrumhalves the chance to generate some consistent form.
“I think the standard of Shute Shield is just so high now that we're really lucky to have that competition to come back to,” he said.
“You can do all the camps and training that you want but it's no substitute for actually playing games so being able to keep ticking along and keep that game timing and stuff like that really helps I think to keep yourself selectable.”
Sydney Uni’s crop will be keen for revenge over Easts, who got the better of thier local derby in round one this year.
“They've been looking forward to this game for a long time and the preparation of going into it is up there with Super Rugby standard,” he said.
“You'll see a few riled up boys - it's always a fiery clash between Easts and Uni so I'm just really looking forward to being a part of it.”
Eastern Suburbs vs Sydney Uni, Woollahra Oval, 3pm
Callum King, Lindsey Stevens, Archie Hall, Ryan McCauley, BJ Edwards / Jack Turley, William Harris, Rowan Perry, Tim Buchanan ©, Angus Fowler, Archie King, Henry Paterson, Ned Yeomans, Sam Fogarty, William Paterson, Daniel Donato
Matt Sandell, Tom Horton, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Matt Philip, Nicholas Champion de Crespigny, Josh Kemeny, Rohan O'Reagan, Jake Gordon, Stu Dunbar, James Kane, Guy Porter, James Armstrong, Harry Potter, Tim Clements
Eastwood vs Gordon, TG MIllner Oval, 3pm
Dean Doumbos, Ed Craig, Rob Lagudi, James Neale, Rhys Allen, Michael Icely, Tevita Piukala, Pat Sio, Mick Snowden, Tayler Adams, Kiti Ratu, Nox Muliufi, Barton Picone, Afa Pakalani, Jackson Bird
Harry Rorke, Mahe Vailanu, Nick Fraser, Cameron Holt, Jack Margin, Brendan Mitchell, Jack Maguire, Jordy Goddard ©, Jacob Abel, Sean Kearns, Ahmu Tuimalealiifano, Joey Walton, Alex Gregory, Mike Molloy, Alex Barker
Southern Districts vs Manly, Forshaw Park, 3pm
Matt Gibbon, Joe Cotton, Ernesto Urgarte, Jake Douglas, James Hasson, Nathan Lawson, Sam Latunipulu, Harry McLennan, Cooper Chambers, Christian Kagiassis, Tyrrell Naleba , Apo Latinupulu, Denny Godinet, Apaola TeaLama, Daniel Bell
Sio Tatola, Aaron Blacklock, Conor Davidson, Alex Dalzell, Van Stewart, Alex Humfrey, Luke Crocker, Harry Bergelin, Harry Emery, Nick Holton, Ben Crerar, Beaudein Waaka, Dennis Pili-Gaitau, Jay Baker, Ben Howard
West Harbour vs Warringah, Concord Oval, 3pm
Sione Mafi, Raukawa Neems, Vaughn Lomax, Joshua Redfern, Vakautaatu Manu, TBC, Kaliova Nacina, Francis Ieremia Saufoi, Dion Spice, Tiaan Henk Swanepoel, James Turner, Graeme Kolomalu, Tyler Fisher, Tavite Gadeisuva, Noah Cooper
Rory O'Connor, Robert Kelly, Apolosi Ranawai, Matt Foulds, Max Girdler, Maclean Jones, Boyd Killingworth, Sam Ward, Josh Holmes, Hamish Angus, Harry Jones, Ben Marr, Harley Attwater, Charlei Tupu, Liam Windon
Western Sydney Two Blues vs Randwick, Lidcombe Oval, 3pm
Western Sydney Two Blues
Airi Hunt, Jordan Ieremia, Kalafi Pongi, Teekay Katoa, Tevita Vea, Adrian Musico, Riley Jacobson, Tala Moli, Daniel Tully, Dom Graham, Taliliki Nadredre, Zac Campton, Trent Winterstein, Hayden Cole, Micheal Zakhia
Toby Trinder, David Vea, Dan Matthew, Tom Nowlan, Nathan den Hoedt, Ned Hanigan, Jack Johnson, Christian Poidevin, Mitchell Short/Harrison Goddard, Will Harrison/Ben Donaldson, Josh Gordon, Nick Wilkinson, Fraser Strachan, Tom Molloy, Freddy Dorrough
QUEENSLAND PREMIER RUGBY
Saturday July 12. All times AEST
Melbourne University vs Box Hill, Smith Oval, 3:15pm
LIVE stream on Rugby Victoria Facebook Page and replayed on Channel 31 on Wednesday 8pm + Saturday 1pm
Declan Cox, Callum Kent, Matthew Dewar, Daniel Sanchez, Sean Longmire, Ola Tauelangi, Ben Collins (C), Lusa Washburn, Lachlan McRae, Matt Te Tana, Luan Scherman, Paul Vaigalepa, Graig Semisi, Asafo Iosefa, Sean Morris
Joe Griffin, Aloisia Sebualala, George Manuofetoa, Iosefo Rasese, Moses Haukinima, Joseva tamani, David Maka, Onesema Hafoka, Alex Healey, Michael Moloney, Ben Uluvula, Mika Faamausili, Puni Aupuni, Nailati Ukalele, Leone Cama
Power House vs Moorabbin, Albert Park, 3:15pm
Teru Leota, Thomas Johnson, Agape Tuigamala, Ryan McKennon, Thomas Pope, Thomas Webb, Chris Mounga, Taofiga Sa, Halcyon Price, Navarre Haisila, Aka Durusolo, Billy Gray, Andrew Gear (C), Joshua Curry, Andrew Blannin
Troy Cobden, Marac Beckham, Sammey Ikihega, Matthew Shillabeer, TBC, Angus Murray, Daniel Concannon, Simon Brown, Machon Samu (C), Patolo Toeta, Hunter Ioane, Steven Pene, Tomasi Ramanumanu, TBC, TBC
Endeavour Hills vs Melbourne, Frog Hollow Reserve, 3:15pm
Jaleel Tapusini, Siliva Junior Siliva, Ulisese Tagiaia Talatoa, Dayne Wilkinson, Mase Faaosofia, Gerrit Lesa, Taase Taase, TBC, Nathaniel Johansson-Joseph, Moses Sila Jr Faaola, Vito Faamanu-Vaomua, Unga Samuel, Joshua Cocker-Valu, TBC, Tovio Justin Tavae
Noa Noa, Vyron Smith, Taimo Matau, Jeremy Burrill, Sakaria Noa, Dean Della-Vedova, Aisea Koliavu, Masunu Tuisila, Reece Fuller, James Sooialo, Matai Nairavu, David Massey, William Lewesi , Christopher Stannage , Telea- Afa Faatau
Harlequins vs Footscray, Ashwood Reserve, 3:15pm
Jack Fitzgerald, Charles Paese, Angus Arundel (C), Trevor Hosea, Angus Hamilton, Brandon Payn, Katinali Tai, Matia Vibote, Antonie Van Zyl, Kemueli Valetini, Taylor Acheson, Melcom Kilifi, Leo Owade, Asaeli Niubalavu, Justin Marsters
Kelli Ah-Mu Tofete, Mose Aiolupotea, Kaisa Leota, Darcy Fergus, James Stanley, Siotame Sau Ofahengaue, Michael Wilson, Charlie Sale, Konelio Junior Kj Luafalealo, Martin Naufahu, Blessing Sehweah, Maynard Poutu, Johnny Togiatomai, Junior Moananu, Tevita Saulaa
FMG PREMIER DIVISION
JOHN I DENT CUP