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O'Connor tips success for Phipps

Nick Phipps ... tipped for the top.

Nick Phipps ... tipped for the top. Photo: Getty Images

JAMES O'CONNOR has backed Melbourne teammate Nick Phipps to ''excel'' at halfback after the loss of Wallabies linchpin Will Genia.

Phipps was chosen in the Wallabies squad for the Rugby World Cup more than a year ago but has warmed the bench ever since, while Australia grew more dependent on Genia's excellence.

But the Sydney-raised Rebel's time has come after news Genia would miss the rest of the year with a knee injury incurred during the Wallabies win against the Springboks in Perth.

O'Connor, who joined Wallabies camp on the Gold Coast and hopes to be ready to tour in two weeks, believes his teammate is ready to face the challenge.

''I think he's going to handle it quite well, he's played two years of Super Rugby, he's been involved with the Wallabies for two to three years now, so he does have experience behind him and he has been around Willy for a while now,'' O'Connor said.

''His style of play will definitely suit [five-eighth Quade Cooper] anyway, he's got a good pass and he's not afraid to take the line on.''

Genia's loss is the latest blow to the Wallabies, who were only just coming to terms with injuries to new captain David Pocock and his predecessor James Horwill.

''It's always tough losing a member of your team, especially since Willy's our captain and one of our core players in the team. But I think Nick's going to step up, he's a very physical sort of guy, he throws his weight around well,'' O'Connor said.

''And I think against a team like the Pumas, who are going to be tough up front, you need a character like that who's going to go in hard.''

O'Connor said the Pumas' performance against New Zealand at the weekend showed they could not be written off outside Argentina.

But he laughed at comments after the 21-5 defeat that the Pumas tried to stall the ball at the ruck.

''New Zealand can't really point fingers there, they're the biggest culprits in world rugby at slowing down the footy, so maybe they just got a taste of their own medicine,'' O'Connor said. ''It's no secret that we like to play front-foot ball, that we like to play rugby … but you adapt to what's happening on the field and if they want to slow the ball down then let's hope the ref picks that up, but there's also ways to counter that.''

O'Connor's mooted return against South Africa in Pretoria at the end of the month cannot come soon enough for the Wallabies and the 22-year-old himself, who endured serious injuries to his liver and hamstring this year.

But characteristically upbeat, O'Connor found positives in his extended lay-off. ''I'm not going to lie it has been really frustrating but at the same time it's been refreshing, I've never had a pre-season before and being able to have a good 15 weeks to train and get my body to a place it's never been before,'' he said.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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