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Phipps says Waratahs will ‘adhere’ to resting Wallabies but Drew Mitchell holds doubts

Waratahs half-back Nick Phipps has confirmed the team has discussed resting five Wallabies representatives next week as part of an agreement with Rugby Australia.

Under the agreement, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale are to be given a week off in a World Cup year.

Yet with a place in the Super Rugby finals at stake, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has refused to guarantee he would rest the representative players.

However, Phipps has confirmed they will abide by terms of the agreement with the governing body.

“Yeah, we’ve spoken about it,” Phipps tells James Willis on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“We’re obviously going to be adhering to Rugby Australia’s policy there and it’s all good,

“We looked ahead at what was coming up and where we were sitting, and we thought the best chance we had of making the finals was to win the Australian games,

“We were to put all of our eggs in the baskets for the Rebels last week and the Brumbies this week, and next week we’re going to have to deal with whatever players we have left next week,

“We’ll have an awesome experience over there with some of the players that haven’t been playing a lot this year and lock it down, make it a squad effort,”

It’s a hindrance for the Waratahs because a win over the Brumbies this weekend means their hopes of playing finals are still alive but rest on defeating the Highlanders in Invercargill next week.

Typically, for an Australian side to knock off a Kiwi franchise in New Zealand, a full quote of Test players is desirable.

Former Waratah and Wallaby star Drew Mitchell says it’s an example of poor player management from the Waratahs and that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Wallabies are not rested if a spot in the playoffs remains up for grabs.

“If the Waratahs are still a chance next week, and it’s a must win game again, they’re not going to rest Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Nick Phipps, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale – it’s just not going to happen,” Mitchell tells David Morrow and Mat Thompson.

“I think it’s a case of watch this space and there will be a couple of abrasive phone calls next week.”

Drew Mitchell, a veteran of three Rugby World Cups, says the player resting policy is in response to the workload inflicted on the modern player.

“Players get a week or two off post Super Rugby, they’ll probably already be in World Cup camps and players from other teams will filter in as they bow out, and then it’s basically straight into a five test series until the World Cup,

“There’s not a great deal of time for these players to rest physically but also mentally, to get away from the game a little bit,

“It’s probably not ideal to be in a position  where you have to rotate large numbers of your squad in the last game of the season.”

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James Willis