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'I've worked hard': Philip looking to make the most of Wallabies second chance

By AAP
Matt Philip. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

When Matt Philip last played for the Wallabies in 2017 he was a raw rookie, admitting he was along for the ride.

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Making his Test debut against Japan en route to the UK where he gained his other two caps, Philip was considered a bolter after only playing 13 Super Rugby games.

But with a further three Melbourne seasons under his belt, the self-confessed “late bloomer” says he’s now much better prepared.

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and captain Michael Hooper interview

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and captain Michael Hooper interview

He plans to add to that experience with a one-season stint in France early next year before returning to again push for Test selection in 2021.

“To be back part of the Wallabies squad is unreal, it’s really exciting for me and I’ve worked hard to try and get back here,” the 26-year-old said on Thursday.

“I’m a bit older, more experienced now so I really think I can add to the group in a positive way.

“I feel a lot more confident to speak my mind, especially around set-piece and lineout time whereas back in 2017 I was pretty new to the whole Wallabies and Super Rugby environment so I kind of took a back seat and went for the ride.”

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Philip is competing with veteran Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Ned Hanigan and his rookie Rebels teammate Trevor Hosea for a start in the opening Bledisloe Cup in Wellington on October 11.

Foreign-based locks Rory Arnold, Will Skelton and Izack Rodda could also come into the frame to be called up for the Rugby Championship starting in November.

While he has found his voice, Phillip is also enjoying the feedback under the new Wallabies coaching regime of Dave Rennie in their camp in the Hunter Valley.

He said he was enjoying the “transparency”, which was a notable difference from former coach Michael Cheika.

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“There’s a lot of transparency between the coaches and the players in regards to how you’re going and what they expect of you,” he said.

“That’s been really impressive and what I’ve really noticed in the first couple of days.

“They are really open with their communication.”

The Wallabies will head to New Zealand on a charter flight on Friday night and quarantine for three days before commencing team training.

– Melissa Woods

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finn 6 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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