Phillips craving Bok scalp
Phillips craving Bok scalpSHARE
Scrumhalf Mike Phillips is determined to notch his first victory over the Springboks for Wales at the Millenium Stadium this weekend.
Wales' solitary victory over South Africa came back in 1999, but Phillips is confident that the Six Nations champions have the tools to claim a second Springbok scalp at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday.
The controversial scrumhalf was recently fired by his French club Bayonne for arriving at a training session under the influence of alcohol, but his focus is now on getting his team over the line against the Boks in Cardiff.
Having come close a few times in the recent past Phillips is determined to finally get the job done this weekend.
"We have pushed them close the last few fixtures we've played against them. It's been bitterly disappointing not to get victories over them. But we've got the talent here in the squad to go out there and do it," he said.
The Six Nations champions boast a squad littered with British and Irish Lions, but Phillips is well-aware that they are in for a tough battle in the opening game of their season.
"They are an immensely physical side and you have got to match that. I've been reasonably happy with the way I've played against them in the past, but to have had a few more wins against them would have been better.
"We've pushed them close. The way we've progressed in the squad and the talent we have there is no reason why we can't go out there and get a victory.
"They are a great side and played really well in Rugby Championship. It's going to be difficult, but there's no reason why we can't go out there and get a win," he said.
Phillips carried a knee injury throughout the victorious British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.
He admits it was hugely frustrating but is back to full fitness and is ready to fire for Wales.
"I came back from the Lions tour, had a couple of injections in my knee, a bit of rest and things have settled down really well. I haven't had any issues at all with it," said Phillips
"It was frustrating during the Lions tour, so it's nice to be fully fit and raring to go.
"It was a pain to be honest. I did it in the first game and throughout it was just a bit disappointing to be playing at that level with a major niggle. It was constant ice and feet up. But it was great to win in the end and tick that box," he added.
Wales also face Argentina, Tonga and Australia at the Millennium Stadium and Phillips is relishing the opportunity to pull on the Three Feathers once again.
"I still have the same hunger as ever. That's my character. That's the way I am and that's the way I'll always be," added Phillips
"Whenever you put the Welsh jersey on, you've got to perform to your very best. Anything less than that is not good enough. Those are the standards we've set and it's why we've done reasonably well over the last few years.
"The boys are developing nicely and gaining experiences year on year. I think we are improving every campaign we come in.
"So hopefully we can start off with a win. It's going to be very hard to do that, but we've got to knuckle down and put things in place," he said.