Philip hopes short-term France stint will boost Test chances

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels lock Matt Philip believes a short stint in France will help give him the point of difference to push for Wallabies selection again.

Philip re-signed for two years at the start of 2019 but took up an option to opt out of the final year and instead will play for French Top 14 side Pau for the 2020-21 season.

The second rower played three Tests for the Wallabies, back in 2017, but has been on the fringes over the past two years despite showing consistent Super Rugby form.

With a host of second rowers moving on in the past year, the door is open for the locks in Australia to work their way up the pecking order.

Philip said he hoped a season abroad would give him some more weapons in a bid to push for a regular Test spot down the track.

"I am going for a short stint overseas, that's locked in, but I'll be available for Super Rugby and Test matches at the back end of this year and I'm hoping to come back at the end of next year’s Super Rugby season and be available for next year's Test matches," he said.

"I won't be involved in Super Rugby next year but I'm hoping to be back for the next season."

Philip and the rest of Australia's professional players have taken significant pay cuts this season amid the coronavirus shutdown but he said the move wasn't about money.

"This season I've been involved in Wallabies squads but in years gone by, I've been on the fringes and I'm looking for a point of difference,

"I think going overseas for a short period of time will give me a point of difference, it's a pretty tough old competition and I think it will benefit me in that regard."

Philip has been well on the Wallabies radar already this year and said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie had been in contact.

"I have spoken with Dave, been getting some feedback from him and that’s been really good," he said.

Before he turns his focus to 2021 and moving to the other side of the world, Philip is set to be closer to home than ever.

The Rebels will host the Reds at Manly's Brookvale Oval on Friday night, across the road from Philip's alma mater St Augustine's College.

Philip remembers sneaking across to the NRL ground during school lunchtimes to play touch football and is looking forward to playing at the Northern Beaches ground.

Philip said the Rebels forwards were pleased with their performance in Canberra but are expecting another tough encounter against Queensland.

The Rebels host the Reds on Friday July 10 at Brookvale Oval, kicking off at 7:05pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy tickets here. Buy a Kayo subscription here.