/ Super Rugby 2014

/ Reaction

Super Rugby
Phipps leads mighty defensive effort
July 27, 2014
Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale tackle Christian Leali'ifano, New South Wales Waratahs v Brumbies, Super Rugby semi-final, Allianz Stadium, July 26, 2014
The Waratahs' defence was outstanding against the Brumbies © Getty Images

Nick Phipps modestly claimed he "voted 15 times" after winning the players' player award from the New South Wales Waratahs' gritty Super Rugby semi-final triumph over the Brumbies. In reality, the heroic scrum-half probably polled one vote for every try-saving tackle he pulled off in the 26-8 victory at Allianz Stadium.

As the Brumbies laid siege to the Waratahs' try line for most of a desperately tense second half, Phipps was everywhere, his copybook cover tackles on Tevita Kuridrani and Scott Fardy, in particular, symbolising his side's courage in defence.

"His work rate is phenomenal. He had a brilliant game around that part," said coach Michael Cheika. "The team recognised that definitely. He got the accolades afterwards as the players' man of the match."

Phipps tried to deflect the praise, saying his desperate scrambling was merely a job order from defensive coach and former Waratahs hardman Nathan Grey.

"I'm required to make those tackles in the second line of defence," he said. "Our boys were making big shots in close so I guess it was up to us little blokes out wide to make the big ones as well."

Waratahs 28-6 Brumbies (Australia only)

Despite the flattering end scoreline, the match was in the balance as the Brumbies camped inside the NSW red zone for some 25 minutes while the Waratahs clung to a 16-8 lead.

"That's definitely our best defensive effort of the season. It was one of the most intense matches I've ever played," Phipps said after the Waratahs booked a final showdown with the Crusaders next Saturday night at ANZ Stadium. "It was good that we were able to weather that storm and we know that there's an even bigger storm coming."

With incredible strike power in their backline, the Waratahs boast the most potent attack in the competition. But this year, they also own the best defensive record and Cheika said he deliberately appointed Grey to transform the Tahs into genuine title contenders.

"He's brought that hard steel," Phipps said. "We all grew up watching 'Greysy' when were young blokes, so we know that he's got that absolutely uncompromising style of rugby and we love that and that really filters onto the rest of the players."

In a team of heroes, flanker Michael Hooper was also outstanding in defence and Cheika said the captain's "ridiculous work rate" was infectious.

"Obviously why he's good at it is because he just loves it. He just loves getting in there and getting dirty and working hard and that's quite contagious," Cheika said. "Once one or two or three and four guys start doing it, everyone else starts catching the bug."


Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Reds can still make rugby finals: Graham

    After another disastrous night out, the Reds fell to a one-point loss to the Lions, but Reds coach Richard Graham still believes the Reds have a chance to make the finals

  • Football

    Injured duo Welbeck and Sterling to miss Italy friendly

    England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will miss Tuesday's international friendly against Italy with injury, while Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling will also be excused from the game in Turin

  • Tennis

    Murray cruises into Miami Open third round

    Andy Murray made a solid start in his quest for a third Miami Open title as he dispatched Donald Young to reach the third round in Florida

  • Football

    Harry Kane revels in dream England debut

    Harry Kane declared his debut international goal as the greatest moment of his career as he scored just 80 seconds after coming off the bench during England's 4-0 victory against Lithuania

  • Rugby

    George North knocked out during Saints win

    Northampton star George North was knocked unconscious after scoring two tries during the Saints' 52-30 Aviva Premiership victory over London Wasps on Friday

  • Formula One

    Tough at the top

    Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?

  • Formula 1

    F1 cost cutting: Not putting money where the mouth is

    Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...

  • Rugby

    Unsavoury sledging did not end with Potgieter

    Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports

  • Rugby

    Super Rugby preview, team news, line-ups: Round 7

    Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks

  • Formula 1

    Storm clouds gather in Malaysia

    Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix

  • News
  • Features

Sponsored Links

Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income