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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 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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