on air now

Nick Phipps believes selection loggerheads contributed to Michael Cheika and Wallabies’ demise

Wallaby Nick Phipps believes the national team having multiple selectors was a contributing factor behind Michael Cheika and the Wallabies’ demise following their horrendous exit from the Rugby World Cup at the hands of England over the weekend.

Australia were bundled out of the quarter finals after being defeated 40-16, prompting Michael Cheika to resign as coach once his contract expires at the end of 2019.

Cheika who won 34 of a possible 68 games as coach including two draws was part of a three man selection panel alongside Director of Rugby Scott Johnson and fellow selector Michael O’Connor.

Phipps who was coached by Cheika for several years at the New South Wales Waratahs and at national level told Macquarie Sports Radio Halftime the signs were there things had changed when Cheika first began his tenure as the boss.

“I think so, it (three selectors was always going to be trouble) and the board probably new that at the time,” Phipps said.

“Cheik and Scott are both loud, big, powerful men so them going at it behind closed doors, the players never really knew that was going on.

“You could tell towards the end a lot of things were happening that weren’t as congruent or Cheiks’ ways as to earlier seasons, ultimately he said that made it feel very hard.”

The last 12 months has seen the state of Australian Rugby slammed on the back of its poor results with 2018 yielding just four wins from 13 games, while the Israel Folau saga has torn the sport apart and Phipps says he feels the frustration from the fans.

“It’s been a crazy 48 hours,” Phipps said.

“There’s so many emotions running through after being a fan and seeing our boys getting knocked out not playing their best footy against a good England team.

“Then straightaway the calls started coming for Cheiks’ head and then he gets a bit of time to have a think about it and step aside which he probably was going to.

“Listening to a lot of the callers in the last hour, I can feel their frustration as an ex-player and as a fan.

“You want to see the game going well and you want to see the best things for the Wallabies, not just the Wallabies but everything from junior rugby straight up.”

Phipps has 71 caps for the Wallabies since first debuting in 2011 and has been a key part of the national set-up in recent years.

The 30-year-old was left out of the Wallabies squad by Cheika for both the Rugby Championship and World Cup, while he will also commence his move to London Irish at the end of the week.


MORE: Hear James Willis, Greg Growden and you – the listeners have their say – on just how Australian Rugby has reached the point it is at today.

Dan Mullan/Getty Images.