Nick Phipps’ performances over the historic series whitewash at the hands of England has shrouded a cloud of uncertainty over his place within the starting Wallaby XV.
The Waratah was by no means at his best over the course of the three tests as the English defence constantly bombarded the scrum-half, starving him of clean ball and thus interfering with his influence on the game as he found it difficult to gain a foot-hold.
However, Phipps feels that a determinant in leading to his lacklustre performances were the ‘borderline’ tactics employed by Eddie Jones’ men as they constantly harassed the Wallabies with late hits, tackles off the ball, ruck-time infringements as well as some questionable high-tackling.
Even with 42 caps to his name, Phipps has admitted it to be the toughest period of his career and fully intends to exact revenge for the cycnical game plan of the Red Rose, as well as the voracious verbal jabs that were being thrown on the pitch, by meeting the English head on and giving them a taste of their own medicine this Autumn:
“The Kiwis are quite good at nullifying that [ruck] area, they’re quite good – but never so much as the way England did it,” Phipps told Fairfax Media.
“They borderline the whole game, every game were pushing that area, especially coming through and taking [number] nines and tens out, taking the ballplayers out. It’s quite good because you can look back and learn quite a bit from it because you know the next time I play England I’ll be doing the same thing. Learning from [it] that’s key. There’s no point sooking about it, you’ve got to move on and get onto the next job.”
“If anyone’s going to throw criticism at me for the series, that’s footy, I’ve learnt to deal with that,” Phipps said. “At the end of the day you can’t please everyone. The people that I care about are the people I play with. If one of the boys was ever disappointed with me, then I’d really be upset but hopefully they know that I’m trying to do my job as best as possible.”
Will Genia’s impending return to the Australian set-up; seeing as he is a beneficiary of the 60 cap Giteau Law, casts a glaring shadow over Phipps’ international prospects as Genia is considered to be the superior option of the two.
No-one is a harser critic of his own game than Phipps himself with the scrum-half stating that he will be reeling to do everything in his power to prove to Michael Cheika as to why he should stick with him for the number nine position:
“Who knows? It’s not up to me. It’s up to the bosses,” said Phipps when asked if he thought he deserved to start against New Zealand.
“They know what I can bring every week and what I’ll be doing and not letting the team down. It’s good to have Willy back. Australians just want the best players back in the country playing footy you know, whether he’s starting it’s not really my concern I’ve just got to make sure that whenever we get into camp I rip in. We’re all going to put that England series behind us as quickly as possible.”
(source via smh.com.au)