Halfback Nick Phipps has shed some light on the controversial Wallabies fitness camp that left four star players injured - and has led to a top-level review by Rugby Australia.
Calf injuries to Phipps, Adam Coleman, Dane Haylett-Petty and David Pocock marred the January camp in Sydney, prompting RA's chief executive Raelene Castle to commission a comprehensive review and Haydn Masters to quit as the Wallabies' fitness guru.
Phipps told the Fox Rugby Podcast he believed the camp was valuable but that some players' workloads could have been managed better.
"It's [the camp] been painted like a real death march or something. Yeah, I got injured but the rest of the camp was really positive," Phipps said.
"I know there is a lot of stuff out there saying how it was poorly run — it was quite well run. But I guess it is disappointing that a few of us pinged our calves. It's frustrating but injuries happen."
Phipps defended under-fire Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika, whose every move is being scrutinised after a disastrous season and with the World Cup only months away.
"Cheik actually had a really good presentation about what he expects from players in different groups, to pass the selection criteria and that maps out your season ahead, so you can sit there and start to tick your goals off and really plan ahead," Phipps said.
"I came back and day one we went straight into some noisy stuff [sprint sessions] and I pinged my calf towards the end of the session.
"I wasn't the only one, I had Poey (Pocock) and Dane (Haylett-Petty) with me and then I think Adsy (Coleman) did his..."
The Wallabies' fitness levels have been heavily criticised over the past two seasons, with former coach Bob Dwyer leading the charge.
Phipps told the Fox Rugby Podcast Dwyer had a point.
"I guess there was certainly players, we were guilty as a group, of probably not being as fit enough as we needed to be, which I think was a result of focusing so much on our Super Rugby."