Award caps off Phipps' meteoric rise - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Award caps off Phipps' meteoric rise

Melissa Woods 23/06/2011 05:34:36 PM Comments (0)

From third grade in club rugby to award-winning Wallaby hopeful in the space of a year, it's been quite a ride for Melbourne Rebels halfback Nick Phipps.

The 22-year-old was on Thursday named Rebels' player of the year in their inaugural Super Rugby season, while at a presentation lunch in Sydney at the same time he was declared Australian Super Rugby rookie of the year.

He's hoping to cap the meteoric rise with selection in Australia's team for the World Cup in New Zealand in September-October.

Phipps toured to Europe with the Wallabies at the end of last year but didn't win a cap.

Last year he was playing third grade for Sydney University and came to Melbourne with the knowledge he was likely to be their third-string halfback behind veteran Sam Cordingley and Richard Kingi.

But with Cordingley injured he leapfrogged Kingi into the starting jersey.

"They made it pretty clear when I first signed I'd be the third-string halfback and I've had to work my way up," Phipps said.

"I was just hoping to get a few times on the field but I was pretty lucky and ended up getting to play the majority.

"Coming to Melbourne is definitely the best decision I ever made."

Phipps, a former Australian Sevens representative, paid tribute to the retiring Cordingley.

"He's helped me all year, he's been outstanding and is always helping me out and going through game tapes with me.

"The wealth of knowledge he has is definitely something I've tried to soak up."

Due to the Rebels defence deficiencies, Phipps had had to make many more tackles than the average No.9.

Incoming Melbourne coach Damien Hill predicted an even more dynamic Phipps next season.

"From Nick this year you saw a very fit, tenacious player with a good pass but you didn't see from Nick this year what he can do," Hill said.

"He himself is a very dangerous attacker and that's something, as the team gels better ... we'll start to see him more as a attacker."

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