'Nick Phipps gave me a few pointers on how to get settled'
Joe Powell has credited fellow Aussie Nick Phipps – the player he has replaced as London Irish scrum-half for the 2022/23 season – with providing him advice to help smooth the transition from life in Australia to England. The 28-year-old, who was capped four times by the Wallabies, has arrived at the Gallagher Premiership club as a straight swap for Phipps, the 33-year-old who won 72 caps for his country.
It was May 30 when Phipps was named by the Irish as one of the eleven players who would leave them at the end of the 2021/22 season and he still has to source himself a new club, writing on his Twitter bio that he is “currently on gardening leave”.
In the meantime, Powell, his fellow countryman, has checked in at Irish and has been complimentary about what Phipps had told him about the club and about the challenge of adjusting to the way of life in England compared to back home in Australia.
“I suppose it makes it easier knowing a few of the boys before I came over here, Nick Phipps gave me a few pointers on how to get settled so it definitely smooths moving in when you’re aware of a few of the guys before arriving,” explained Powell in an interview on the London Irish website.
“Everywhere you go in rugby, there are a lot of parallels you can draw between teams but the boys have been so welcoming to me and a lot of the new lads. We’re starting to get to know each other really well, having a few barbeques with the boys and increasing our rapport with each other.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 6, 2021
Powell is the latest Australian to hook up with Irish, joining fellow Aussie players Ollie Hoskins, Adam Coleman, Curtis Rona and Rob Simmons and being coached by Brad Davis and Les Kiss. His success in the sport is unusual in that he had to step away from it early in his career as it wasn’t so successful, the half-back making do with work as a carpenter before eventually making it big in rugby.
“I came out of school not really knowing what I really wanted to do, I gave uni a try for a little bit and did a little bit of travelling,” he continued. “Playing for the Australian U20s was an honour but I was still unsure of what I wanted to continue with, so I picked up a carpentry apprenticeship which I did for around a year-and-a-half in my hometown of Canberra.
“I did a couple of pre-seasons with ACT Brumbies and after they had a few injuries I got the call-up to represent them, and it went from there for six seasons.” From there he switched to the Rebels for a couple of years before now heading to London.
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