Matt Philip is hoping to use some of the tricks and techniques learnt in French rugby as he prepares for his return to the Wallabies set-up
Philip is serving his two-week quarantine period in Sydney after his stint with Top 14 club Pau, with the lock set to join his Australian teammates in Sanctuary Cove from June 24.
Whist he admits his time in hotel isolation will largely be spent bring-watching Seinfeld, he's adamant he will be ready to go for the opening match on July 7.
“I don’t think there’s time for me to be eased back into training. I’m come out two weeks before the first game and I want to put my hand up for selection straight away,” he said.
“The goal in here is to try and get as much done as I can with the equipment I’ve got to give myself the best shot (of being fit for first Test).”
His seven-month stay in France was hardly picturesque given the constant lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions put in place across the country.
However, he believes dealing and experiencing the different style of rugby will be beneficial for his game heading forward.
“It was tough. I was over there for seven months and pretty much the whole time we were in lockdown, curfews, no crowds at games. We couldn’t do the travel that we wanted so from that perspective it was quite tough but I’m going to be better for it,” he admitted.
“It was a challenging time but I played some good Rugby and I’m going to be a better player and person for it.
“The Top 14 is quite a physical comp, more physical than Super Rugby so I had to learn a lot more adjustments in my tackling technique taking on some really big bodies over there compared to here. Also, the whole cliché around my scrum and lineout, I definitely picked up a few things there which I’m excited to try out and see how they go over here. The Top 14 is Rugby but it’s very different to Super Rugby.”
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Philip's return home from Pau comes as discussion continues to rage about the selection policy for the Wallabies.
Coach Dave Rennie has hinted Philip alongside fellow tall timber Izack Rodda will be the only two foreign-based players considered for selection given their re-commitment to Australia in 2022.
Philip is adamant this is the correct pathway and policy, optimistic they can match the big money being outlaid overseas if they start to find success in the coming years.
“I think the people that want to play for that Wallaby jersey will stay regardless of the money. I want to come here for the Wallaby jersey,” he added.
“I think if there’s that flexibility, too many people will head overseas and not play Super Rugby. We need to be playing here, building depth here.
“The money will start to come here if the Wallabies win a lot more games. If they win that World Cup (in 2023), I’m sure there will be even more money after that…I think the way Dave and the selection staff are going around it at the moment is the right path.”