Phipps seemingly on his way to Waratahs

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    The NSW Waratahs’ priority is to retain Wallabies stars Berrick Barnes and Wycliff Palu after seemingly nabbing Test halfback Nick Phipps from the Melbourne Rebels.

    NSW captain Dave Dennis on Wednesday all but confirmed Australian rugby’s worst-kept secret when he said the acquisition of Phipps would “add a lot to us next year” after the ARU inadvertently announced the No.9’s impending move on its website on Tuesday.

    Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was more coy, saying “they know it sooner than I do then” when told the ARU’s news release about Phipps briefly appeared online.

    “Well, I don’t know,” Cheika said.

    “I can’t talk about ifs. Once I know what’s happening officially from my end, then I can talk about that stuff.

    “For us at the moment, the big thing is about retention. We’ve got several players – Berrick Barnes, Palu etc – who are in the middle. They’re not sure if they’re going away or not sure what’s happening.

    “Once I know about that, I can start looking at recruitment.”

    Barnes admitted he was still weighing up his options but wished the Waratahs luck in signing Phipps, whose move to Sydney could lead to former NSW halfback Luke Burgess ending up at the Rebels if granted a release from French side Toulouse on compassionate grounds.

    “If he (Phipps) is coming, I’m not sure. But if he is, great. It’s good for the boys,” Barnes told AAP.

    “I don’t know if I’ll be here to see it, but it’s a good thing for NSW as a state here and what Cheik is trying to do here.

    “If Cheik wants him, he’s got him. Good on him and it’s good for the team.

    “But this year it doesn’t matter. We’ve got three nines who are giving their bloody all.”

    While his immediate focus is on getting NSW’s 2013 campaign back on track after losses to the Queensland Reds and Brumbies, Dennis is hoping former Waratahs backline ace Kurtley Beale may also follow Phipps from the Rebels to Sydney.

    “Kurtley obviously grew up in NSW and spent a bit of time here and performed well here,” Dennis said.

    “So if he were to come back, it would be great news for the club.

    “Nick will add a lot to us next year, but we’ve got to trust in the guys who are here at the moment and get the job done this year and worry about that.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • March 14th 2013 @ 6:01am
      mania said | March 14th 2013 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      classic. screw rebels they dont need players, and tah’s dont have enough wb’s in their team. this is insane. aus cannot support 5 teams

      • March 14th 2013 @ 7:37am
        Brendon said | March 14th 2013 @ 7:37am | ! Report

        This is a joke right? Phipps will bring nothing to the Tahs.. He won’t improve and not will the team with his presence. Plus isn’t burgess coming back to play at Melbourne?

        • March 14th 2013 @ 10:04am
          Justin2 said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Losing Phipps wont cause too many issue at the Rebels. He has been around a while now and doesnt really take games by the throat. Good luck but he is easily replaceable IMO.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 11:36am
            Jiggles said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            The ginger on the bench is a better half anyway. No loss to your boys.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 12:32pm
        p.Tah said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        The Rebels forced Phipps’ hand by recruiting Burgess. Blame the Rebels not the Tahs.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 9:09am
      Gussy Boi said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Phipps should never have played for the Wallabies, his weakest part of his game is his pass!! Great move by Rebels if/when they pick up Burgess.
      Barnes and Palu are so injury prone, they would be costing a fortune if you reviewed their careers on a per game basis. Happy to keep Barnes if he put away his kicking boot.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 10:02am
        jameswm said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Gussy it’s not like Burgo has the best pass in the world.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 10:05am
          Justin2 said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Agreed but the rest of his game is better than Phipps… I’d be going for Prior from the Brumbies myself on the little I have seen he looks very promising.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 5:32pm
            Mantis said | March 14th 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            Prior is a gun, hes just unlucky that White is better. I rate Prior miles ahead of Phipps

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2013 @ 10:35am
          AlBo said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          His pass these days is fine. The problem as a halfback is that when you get a reputation for an ordinary pass you never get it back. All it takes is one bad pass a game and it reaffirms peoples beliefs. All halfbacks throw a couple off the mark in 80mins. His pass is certainly better than Phipps’.

          Burgo will do well at the Rebels.

          • March 14th 2013 @ 10:59am
            Markus said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Burgess might be a handy short-term pickup as he adds experience, but at nearly 30 he isn’t really a longterm option.
            Have the Rebels given up on Kingi as a scrumhalf, or are they just desperately hoping they can get some outside backs return from injury first?

            Agree with J2, while Prior is not as explosive as White, his all-round skills and control of the game are strong, and I’d have him as a starter at a couple of the other franchises.
            The Tahs would have loved him, as he’s a goalkicking flyhalf like McKibbin, but one who can also put a pass in front of the man.

            • March 14th 2013 @ 11:34am
              James said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              As a Rebel’s fan, I will be sad to see Phipps go. However, it is clear that when Nic Stirzaker is on as the replacement that Nic is faster with his passes and much faster across the ground.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 7:56pm
        Rob said | March 14th 2013 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

        Surely there isn’t a weaker trait in international rugby, super rugby or sydney grade rugby than a Phipps box kick. Saying his pass is his weakest aspect really highlights how lowly you must think of him.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 10:13am
      Blue Blood said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      When is the ARU going to do something about the even distribution of Wallabies and their massive above salary cap money?

      If there are 35 Wallabies on ARU top ups then there should be a maximum of 7 current Wallabies contracted to any Australian franchise in any given year.

      People from teams that have traditional had 12+ would then finally realise what the other teams already know, we need more internationals in Australian teams to make them competitive.

      This clustering of the majority of the top talent and their massive money in the Tahs and Reds is rediculous when it results in Wallabies getting reduced game time and match fitness; all while other teams are having to make do with players straight from club rugby. Yes there needs to be avenues for the top talent from club rugby, and there always will be room for the cream to rise. But enough of this insane situation where there is nothing like an even playing field between the Australian franchises and yes teams get judged as if there is by people here and the media.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 11:41am
        Jiggles said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        You’ll find that every wallaby at the Reds was developed by the QRU, or Link/Mooney in the Reds, to Wallaby material. The only ‘big star’ to come to the Reds was Ioane, and he was a fringe Wallaby squad player at best when he moved back to the Reds, and he was also developed by the QRU.

        Why should the Reds be penalised for being the only Union in Australia to take junior development seriously?

        • March 14th 2013 @ 11:54am
          Bakkies said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          The Faingaas, Harris, Samo, Robinson were developed as juniors by the Reds?

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 12:07pm
            Jiggles said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            Did you read my comment or are you just being contrary?

            The Faingaa’s weren’t wallabies and Ant wasn’t wanted by the Brumbies. Mooney/Link developed them into wallaby squad members.

            Samo was languishing around in Sydney club land before link chucked him a life line. Granted he was a Wallaby in 2004 but no other team were interested in him. Links work got him to the Wallabies again.

            Ditto Robinson. He wasn’t even a wallaby and was dumped by NSW. He came up to QLD with no contract and was given a pub job in order to train with the Reds.

            Harris isn’t Wallaby material, he just happened to be last man standing. Still I didn’t see any other kiwi or Australian teams trying to sign him.

            The point stands, and is proven by your question. All those players were rejects or marked ‘not good enough’ by other systems and Mooney/Link developed them all into Super Rugby Champions and Wallaby squad members. Why should the Reds be penalised for this?

        • March 14th 2013 @ 1:11pm
          Blue Blood said | March 14th 2013 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

          To a degree I agree with you regarding developing your own Wallabies. But the movement of Wallabies to teams full of Wallabies shouldn’t be allowed. Too much clustering if talent and the related $. Don’t have a salary cap at all to even out the competition if you are going to allow mega ARU top up money to then be clustered together.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 2:14pm
            Jiggles said | March 14th 2013 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            I agree that established wallabies shouldn’t go to the Waratahs, even if they are poor players, but you shouldn’t lump the Reds in with them when they’ve done nothing of the sort.

            For the record I don’t think established wallabies should ever leave the team they were developed in, eg Higginbotham. It just gives an incentive for a poaching merry-go-round culture to develop. The expansion teams should take unwanted players and expand Australian rugby through developing those players.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 12:02pm
        Markus said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        I’d say that if the last 2 seasons of Super Rugby are anything to go by, Australian franchises need LESS internationals in their teams to make them competitive.
        Having an entire Wallabies forward pack certainly hasn’t helped the Waratahs in the slightest!

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 11:16am
      Bay35Pablo said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      “Australian rugby’s worst-kept secret” – no, the ARU’s worst kept secret. Couldn’t keep it under wraps until Saturday like the Tahs apparently wanted. Whoops, pressed post on the press release early ….

      Phipps apparently walked as the Rebs were talking to Burgo, who were talking to Burgo as Phipps was quibbling over money. However, why wasn’t Burgo talking to the Tahs, who can hardly say Kibbo has nailed down his spot. 9 has been a weak spot since Whitts went. Burgo was decent, but too hot and cold. This suggests Cheiks didn’t want Burgo, unless Burgo didn’t want to go back to a Tahs on the rebuild (which seems strange given all the players are positive about what Cheiks has brought to the place, and he’s hardly in a better spot to get a title at the Rebs). But then Cheiks has chosen Phipps (only the 2nd recruitment choice he has had input into after Chapman).

      I agree I have never seen how Phipps cracked a gold jersey except for a very long injury list at the Wobblies, and even then. However, I can see Kibbo and Phipps keeping each other honest under Cheiks, if they both stay.

      I just can’t see why NSW suddenly has a problem producing decent half backs ….. oh, sorry, apart from the fact we seem to supply most other states …. 🙂 I mean for ourselves. Perhaps we should just go grab some NPC player with an Aussie grandma. Seems all the rage ….

      • March 14th 2013 @ 4:59pm
        formeropenside said | March 14th 2013 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        You did, isnt that Grayson Hart? Or doesn’t he even have an Aussie grandma? And you only did that because the Saffa you hired got homesick.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 12:56pm
      PJ said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

      Phipps is usless, monumental stuff up again by Waratah magagement. The 9 they should have been chasing is stuck on the Rebels bench in Nic Stirzaker he is a Knox Old boy and would look great in the #9 for the Tahs

    • March 14th 2013 @ 2:50pm
      nickoldschool said | March 14th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      I think it’s a bit misleading, or very PC, to say that Toulouse would grant a release to Luke Burgess based on ‘compassionate grounds’. He basically has lost his starting XV jersey this year, the coach Noves often preferring Doussain ( who has just signed for Three more years at the club).

      Would be happy to see him back in SR though as there is just no one behind Genia.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 3:13pm
        The Battered Slav said | March 14th 2013 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

        NOS, I strongly disagree.

        Nick White has been playing the house down for the Brumbies this year.

        He had a great season last year and is really kicking on this season.

        He has an amazing boot, takes very sensible options and gets his backline moving fairly well.

        He hasn’t got the flashy aspects of Genia’s game like the sniping around the fringes, however i think it would be difficult to argue for the inclusion of Phipps or Burgess or Prior or Stirzaker or anyone over White as Genia’s understudy.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 3:25pm
          nickoldschool said | March 14th 2013 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

          No worries Slav. Didn’t think of him tbh. Agree that he is probably the second best scrum half in Oz at the moment, mostly because others are way behind.

          My comment re Genia, Burgess etc was in relation to international level. I don’t think White is a test n9 yet. Not in the category of Genia, Parra, A.Smith IMO. but yes, he is ahead of Phipps.

          • March 14th 2013 @ 4:58pm
            Justin2 said | March 14th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            I think White will make an excellent Test 9 and could do it now. Should have got a run or three last year too. His kicking is unreal, tackles well and he puts the ball out in front consistently, probably better/quicker than Genia.

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