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Wallabies lure second row back to Australia with Rugby World Cup deal

By AAP

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Lock Matt Philip will return from France in July in a boost for the Wallabies and Melbourne, signing with the Super Rugby club through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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Philip skipped this Super Rugby AU season to play with French Top 14 side Pau on a short-term deal but has opted to turn his back on a big-money contract to return home to push his case for Wallabies selection for the July Test series against France.

The 27-year-old played three Tests in 2017 but was overlooked until last year, when he was one of the first Wallabies picked, playing in all six Tests.

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Australia’s line-out captain, Philip also improved his work-rate and carries to be a valuable weapon for the Wallabies, with Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson welcoming him back.

“It will be great to have Matt back in Australia,” Johnson said.

“He was a stand-out for the Wallabies last year and has grown as a player during his brief stint in France.”

Opting for Mel bourne rather than the Waratahs, Philip said he wanted to give back to the Rebels.

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“Without the Rebels and the people involved in the environment, I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” Philip said.

“I want to achieve some club goals and bring home some silverware.”

He said playing in France had helped improve his game, although it was a challenging experience with the country in lockdown since his arrival late last year.

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But he was excited to add to his Test cap haul.

“I feel like I’ve only just got started within the Wallabies environment. I have a lot to give so if provided the opportunity I won’t take a backwards step.”

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Wallabies lure second row back to Australia with Rugby World Cup deal

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