Wallaby bound for France continues to play for international matches

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Matt Philip does not turn his back on Australian rugby with his move to France but does so to improve his chances of becoming a regular Wallaby.The Melbourne Rebels starter has signed with the Top 14 Pau club but wants to add to his three test selections before his departure, especially with extremely low second line stocks in Australia.

The 26-year-old said he had been in regular contact with new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who had commented on his game.

Philip has not been able to return to the Australian side since his debut in 2017 and said he hoped experience in European rugby would give him an advantage.

He said the move was more about increasing his game than his bank balance.

“I’m going on a short trip abroad, but I’m available for all of the Super Rugby competition and all the test games this year,” said Philip on Tuesday.

“I hope to return at the end of next year’s Super Rugby season and will be available for next year’s test matches.

“I hope I have a good enough performance that they want to keep me for the long term, but in the short term I will gain some experience abroad.

“I hope it gives me a point of difference around my game forward because it’s a pretty tough old competition there, so I think it’s going to benefit me. ”

Before that, Philip focused on helping the nomadic rebels to win the Super Rugby AU.

The Rebels failed 31-23 in their clash against the Brumbies in Canberra last Saturday night.

Already out of the Melbourne coronavirus hotspot, the team will leave its Canberra training base for Sydney on Wednesday and “welcome” the Queensland Reds on Friday night at NRL pitch, Brookvale Oval, on the northern beaches.

It’s a homecoming for Philip, who went to school across the floor and said they would sneak in at lunchtime to play touch football.

Philip said the players were not sure if they would stay in Sydney after the game, but with Melbourne’s return to stage 3 lock on Wednesday, they can’t go home for the week off.

– Melissa Woods

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