Phipps in frame to make Wallabies debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Phipps in frame to make Wallabies debut

David Beniuk 16/11/2010 07:20:29 PM Comments (0)

He's yet to play a game of Super Rugby, but young halfback Nick Phipps could make his Test debut against Italy on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT).

The 21-year-old has been backed by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to fill the halfback spot on the Australian bench if first choice No.9 Will Genia is ruled out of the Test against Italy in Florence.

Genia has a rib injury he picked up in last weekend's loss to England but is hopeful of being declared fit.

He received a painkilling injection after the game, something he might need again to play, and rested during a light session for the Test side on Monday.

"He's doing pretty well," Deans said. "He's keen to push the barrow as he always is.

"He's more than hopeful."

If he doesn't play, Luke Burgess will start and Phipps, who has signed with new Super 15 franchise the Melbourne Rebels, will come onto the bench, Deans all but confirmed.

The coach was keen to cast an eye over Phipps in Tuesday night's tour match against Munster.

Deans also ruled out a return to halfback for centre Matt Giteau, who played several Tests there under previous coach John Connolly.

"Not unless our hand was forced," Deans said.

The Wallabies fly to the Renaissance city of Florence on Wednesday to prepare for the clash with the Azzurri.

They expect their wide game to be challenged by the notoriously narrow playing fields they sometimes encounter in the country.

The Test will be held at the home ground of soccer team ACF Fiorentina, the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which has a capacity of 47,000.

"It will be interesting to see if we're playing on a table top this year," Deans said of the ground's dimensions.

"I suspect we will be.

"(Italy will) be very excited having observed our performance (against England), they'll be lining up for a genuine crack."

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