Rugby-Australia lock Philip backs Rennie's 'dark side' call

·2-min read

By Michael Church

(Reuters) - Lock Matt Philip has backed coach Dave Rennie's call for the Wallabies to bring out their "dark side" ahead of next month's three-test series against France.

Philip recently returned to Australia after a stint in France's Top 14 with Pau and was included in Rennie's 38-man squad for the series, which starts on July 7.

The 27-year-old said his time in France had helped him improve as a player and he was looking forward to putting what he learned to good use with the Wallabies.

"Top 14 is quite a physical comp, it's more physical than Super Rugby so from that point of view I had to learn a few more techniques," Philip told reporters in a Zoom call on Monday.

"Around the scrum and line-outs I've picked a few things up that I'm excited to try out and see how they go over here. Top 14 is rugby but it's very different to Super Rugby."

Australian sides won just two out of 25 games against New Zealand opposition in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, and Rennie said the Wallabies had to have a different approach than the Super Rugby sides.

"We want to play an attractive brand of rugby but we've also got to show a dark side," Rennie said on Stan Sports on Sunday when announcing his squad.

"We've got to make some shifts from Super Rugby."

With Australian teams conceding an average of almost six tries per game in the Trans-Tasman competition, Philip said defence had to be the focus.

"I think defence is probably the main way that that can be shown and I think looking at Super Rugby I don't think the Australian Super Rugby teams will be too happy with how they've defended," said Philip.

"The team that was selected has a lot of strong defensive players in there, which can really put dominant shots on and I think that's what he's going to be looking for."

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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