Phipps wins Waratahs nod to take on Reds
NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has ended the rotation of his halfbacks by choosing Wallaby Nick Phipps for a second straight week over Jake Gordon.
Gibson had rotated the two over the past four games against New Zealand opposition, but opted to stick with Phipps for Saturday's clash with the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
"The feeling there is Nick has just shaded Jake with his service," Gibson said.
While Phipps was one of NSW's 10 players in the Wallabies squad, Gibson thought Gordon was unlucky not to be named.
"He's had the first third of the competition as the leading halfback for us and he played well," Gibson said.
Jed Holloway, who has been used mainly as a No.8 in recent seasons, has come in at lock for Tom Staniforth, in the only change to the starting side which lost to the Chiefs last week.
"It's more an opportunity for Jed. He hasn't played there since probably 2014 regularly," Gibson said.
"With Ned (Hanigan) still recovering from that knee injury, we just felt it was an ideal opportunity to see what he could do as a second rower.
"He's very athletic, he's got all those ball-carrying abilities that he brings to the game, but in a slightly different role this week."
Gibson was confident the Tahs would perform well against a strong Reds lineout.
He said NSW hadn't talked about winning eight straight against Queensland or taken much out of their big victory over the Reds at the SCG earlier in the season.
"We've had some heartbreaking defeats over the last three-to-four weeks, but through all that we see that we have improved some things," he said.
"We get to really test ourselves and just see how far we've come.
"We know Queensland at Suncorp it's going to be very difficult. They will be a different beast there. They've shown that this year through their home performances."
Despite the Tahs recent dominance, Gibson felt the old rivalry between the teams was getting stronger again.
"It's returning to those standards particularly in the way Queensland play the game," he said.
"(Reds' coach) Brad (Thorn) has set his team up to be very physical."
Waratahs team: Israel Folau, Cam Clark, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Will Miller, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Replacements: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Shambeckler Vui, Tom Staniforth, Brad Wilkin, Jake Gordon, Lalakai Foketi, Bryce Hegarty.