Lock Philip returns to Rebels from France

Matt Philip has been one of the Wallabies standout performers this year, but he heads off overseas for the 2021 season Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lock Matt Philip will return from France in July in a boost for the Wallabies and Melbourne, signing with the Super Rugby club through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Philip skipped this Super Rugby AU season to play with French Top 14 side Pau on a short-term deal but has opted to turn his back on a big-money contract to return home to push his case for Wallabies selection for the July Test series against France.

The 27-year-old played three Tests in 2017 but was overlooked until last year, when he was one of the first Wallabies picked, playing in all six Tests.

Australia's line-out captain, Philip also improved his work-rate and carries to be a valuable weapon for the Wallabies, with Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson welcoming him back.

"It will be great to have Matt back in Australia," Johnson said.

"He was a stand-out for the Wallabies last year and has grown as a player during his brief stint in France."

Opting for Melbourne rather than the Waratahs, Philip said he wanted to give back to the Rebels.

"Without the Rebels and the people involved in the environment, I definitely wouldn't be in the position I am today," Philip said.

"I want to achieve some club goals and bring home some silverware."

He said playing in France had helped improve his game, although it was a challenging experience with the country in lockdown since his arrival late last year.

But he was excited to add to his Test cap haul.

"I feel like I've only just got started within the Wallabies environment. I have a lot to give so if provided the opportunity I won't take a backwards step."