Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps.
Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps. DEAN LEWINS

Nick Phipps to miss Tahs' crucial clash in NZ

HALFBACK Nick Phipps has been ruled out of the Waratahs clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton with an ankle injury but he should be available for selection in the Wallabies' first Test squad.

Phipps has been replaced by Jake Gordon in the Waratahs team to play on Saturday afternoon, and will fly back to Sydney to undergo precautionary scans.

Those scans will rule out a syndesmosis strain or "anything sinister" but Tahs coach Daryl Gibson said NSW medical staff were confident Phipps will only be sidelined for one game.

"He will be fine for next week and be able to take his place at the national camp," Gibson said.

"It is a 14-day injury and unfortunately he couldn't make it back. He will fly back to Sydney and have some scans just to rule out syndesmosis or anything sinister. But the indication from our doctor and medical staff is that he should be fine next week."

Jake Gordon has been named to start at No.9 and Matt Lucas has flown to New Zealand to join up with the squad and take a spot on the bench.

In the only other change, newly minted Wallabies squad member Jack Dempsey has been added to a 6-2 bench at the expense of centre Irae Simone.

The Waratahs' hopes of making the finals are slim after they lost to the Highlanders last week, and Australian conference leaders the Brumbies extended their gap with a win in Buenos Aires.

The Tahs are now relying on the Brumbies slipping up in their last three games and them claiming the first win in New Zealand in two years.

"The focus for the team remains to compete for the full 80 minutes and we've been working to eliminate those times during a game when we have lost our concentration," Gibson said.

"We know that to win this weekend and in all our games, we have to play for the whole game, for the full 80.

"We know the Chiefs will be tough, they'll challenge us at the breakdown and in every collision so our contact skills have to be right and we have to take a physical edge into this game."

News Corp Australia

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