Wallabies lock Matt Philip believes the side are building 'something special' both on and off the field as they get set to begin their Spring Tour against Japan.
The Wallabies under Dave Rennie head into Saturday's clash with the Brave Blossoms full of momentum and confidence after four straight wins to finish the Rugby Championship.
The squad will be further bolstered by the inclusion of superstar trio Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu once they hit Europe.
Philip believes their inclusion will push the squad to the next level with the goal of a complete 80-minute performance set out by Rennie yet to be attained.
“It’s definitely going to push everyone to work harder, everyone wants to be a part of this environment and they feel like both inside and outside of the group that something special is building here. We’re building quite a good culture and slowly showing that on the field,” he told Rugby.com.au
“…I think we’ve seen glimpses of (our best) throughout the Tests but we haven’t done the full 80 minutes yet. I’m not sure what that will look like yet because we haven’t seen it but when it happens, it’ll be a pretty good feeling and the job will be to repeat it each week which is something the All Blacks regularly do.
“I’m pretty grateful to be involved in this environment and I want to stay involved. That mindset is what most people have here and they want to work as hard as they can to stay here.
“But in saying that, the most important Test is the one that you have in front of you this weekend. We’re not thinking too hard about the winning streak or anything like that, we’re just focused on Japan because they are a very good squad and we’re going to have to put in a very good performance to get the bickies."
Philip got a first-hand impression of the talent the towering partnership of Skelton and Arnold will provide during his stint with French club Pau.
Both were instrumental in taking their respective sides to the Top 14 final and the 27-year-old believes their experience will be invaluable.
“Competition is only going to make us better as a team,” he believes. “They’re obviously great players and I’m excited to learn off them.
“They’re a couple of older heads who are very experienced at the International level. I’m excited to learn from them and get to know them better.
“They’re both of the better of terms massive units and they suit that Top 14 perfectly. They are the cornerstones in two very successful teams in Toulouse and La Rochelle.
“They’re some of the best locks in the competition for sure and watching from afar this year, they haven’t taken a backwards step which is impressive."
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Philip comes into the Tour refreshed after a quick period at home with family in NSW.
Having spent the past 10 months on the road, he believes the time away from the rigours of bubble life was just what the lock and the squad was needed.
“I haven’t been (home) since I went to France. I went straight back into the Wallabies camp so it was an awesome time to be away from Rugby for a bit and see the family. It was a good break and everyone’s feeling a lot fresher and ready to go,” Philip added.
“I had to go straight out of the hotel into Queensland so that was the start of NSW cracking down so I had to move quickly.
“I'm very close to my family so getting some time off to see them after a long ten months of playing Rugby was awesome. (Being) out of that bubble environment, which can be full-on at times, always being around the team and Rugby so the opportunity to go home and relax and decompress, I was grateful for.”