Wallabies second-row Matt Philip has signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract with the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Australia.
Philip will re-join the Rebels in 2022 after a stint with Top 14 club Pau for the 2020/21 season.
I’m looking forward to giving something back to the club. Without the Rebels and the people involved in the environment, I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” he said in a statement.
“I want to achieve some club goals and bring home some silverware.
“The Top 14 has been a great opportunity for growth both on-and-off the field. A lot of games are in cold, wet weather and against some big bodies so as a tight five forward, it’s definitely helped me improve and grow my game.
“France has obviously been in lockdown since I arrived, so this has forced me to also develop and mature, becoming a more well-rounded person off the field.
“I feel like I’ve only just gotten started within the Wallabies environment. I have a lot to give so if provided the opportunity I won’t take a backwards step.
“Playing for your country and representing your family is one of the best feelings I have had as a person to date.
“I have worked hard on bringing a level of consistency to my game with my carries, my set-piece and my engine around the field. I hope this will put me in good stead come selection time.”
Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson added: “It will be great to have Matt back in Australia. He was a standout for the Wallabies last year and has grown as a player during his brief stint in France.
“Matt’s return will add further competition to our second-row stocks this year and as we keep on the journey to the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
“Matt is one of a number of overseas-based Australians who are interested in returning home.
“Each has said they want to play in our Super Rugby competition and are desperate to pull on the Gold jersey.
“They know what we’re building ahead of the World Cup in France and the level of talent in this current group.”
The 26-year-old made his debut in 2016 for the Western Force before moving to the Rebels in 2018.
🗣️ "To be named in the Wallabies was a big surprise, and I’m looking forward to the challenge."
🇦🇺 Sitaleki Timani relishing Wallabies return. 👇https://t.co/zFcZPrHhzm
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) April 6, 2021
He would become Wallaby number 915 in 2017, coming off the bench for Australia’s match against Japan in Yokohama.
During his stint at the Rebels, he would establish himself as one of the premier locks in Australia, starting in every single game for the Wallabies in 2020.
Philip will be immediately available for selection for the Wallabies ahead of their three-Test home series with France in July.