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Tahs lose Phipps for Chiefs rugby clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/06/2017 Adrian Warren

Bernard Foley says the NSW Waratahs have been inspired rather than deflated by last week's adverse Super Rugby results and want to finally unleash their full potential in Saturday's must-win clash with the Chiefs.

Battling to keep their season alive, the Tahs will go into the game in Hamilton without Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps has has an ankle injury.

He will be replaced by emerging youngster Jake Gordon - the scorer of two tries after coming off the bench last Saturday to replace Phipps, who is returning to Sydney for more scans.

Tahs coach Daryl Gibson is optimistic Phipps isn't suffering a more-serious syndesmosis injury, but it's an untimely blow for his side.

They are second in the Australian conference, nine points behind the pacesetting Brumbies with just three rounds remaining.

The pendulum swung significantly last week in the Canberra-based team's favour, when they scored a bonus-point win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, while the Tahs lost to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Asked if that set of results had taken some of the oxygen out of the Tahs' season, defiant five-eighth Foley said "I think it's probably done the opposite.

"It's probably inspired or fuelled a lot more guys.

"It was unfortunate to see the Brumbies do what they do but, for us, all we've said is we can control what we can control - we can only go out there and take responsibility for our own actions.

"We're keeping one eye on the Brumbies, but our focus is on us in terms of how we want to prepare.

"The way the Chiefs like to play has always fitted well with us and our style and how we want to play that ball-in-hand style of rugby and it's an exciting prospect.

"We're just trying to unleash our potential and what we can achieve and how we can get better and, as we've seen, we can do it in patches, but it's just trying to get that 80 minutes."

Matt Lucas flew to New Zealand on Thursday as back-up for Gordon, who Gibson believed was destined for international recognition, despite missing out on this week's Wallabies' squad.

Gibson has opted for a 6-2 forwards split on the bench, with new Wallabies squad back-rower Jack Dempsey likely to play 20 to 25 minutes in his first Super game since a foot injury in round four.

NSW:

Israel Folau, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rob Horne, David Horwitz, Cam Clark, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson.

Res: Damien Fitzpatrick, Paddy Ryan, Angus Taavao, David McDuling, Jed Holloway, Jack Dempsey , Matt Lucas, Bryce Hegarty.

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