Phillips targets first Test win
June 3, 2012
Mike Phillips is aiming to build on Wales' Six Nations grand slam with a series win against Australia © Getty Images
Mike Phillips believes that the first Test against Australia is central to Wales' hopes of returning with a series victory under their belts.
Grand Slam winners Wales have not beaten Australia away since the bronze medal match at the 1987 World Cup. Phillips himself has never been in a winning side against the Wallabies and is desperate to avoid adding to the two defeats they suffered to them last year.
"The first Test is so important - nail that one and you get some momentum. We have to give everything we've got in Brisbane and then push on from there," he said. "This series is a massive opportunity for us and we know how huge it would be if we could get a couple of wins. We have very high standards and everyone is driving each other on. It's all about winning and we want to carry on in that way and move to the next level. We want to push on and get the next big scalp. We're up against one of the best sides in the world and we respect their place in world rugby. But we are in good shape to hopefully challenge them over the three Tests in the next few weeks."
Phillips is one of 16 players who travelled down under to begin preparations for the first test in Brisbane next Saturday. A further 18 will now join up with the team following the 30-21 victory against the Barbarians on Saturday.
Key to Wales' hopes of a series win is Phillips personal duel with Australia scrum-half Will Genia. The Red's number nine is a key figure in their attacking play and is a dangerous player around the fringes with his sharp bursts. He has also been victorious the last four times he has played against Wales.
"Will Genia is a real catalyst for them and he dictates the way they play. He is a major threat for them and pulls the strings for them,but throughout the side they have some wonderful ball-playing forwards and their backs can cut the line," Phillips said. "It means our defence will have to be massive as they have threats all over the park. It really is an exciting challenge for us and it is one we want to match up to. We've all enjoyed the experience of winning in a Welsh jersey this year and coming on the back of a Grand Slam campaign this is a very exciting trip."
Wales play Australia in Brisbane on June 9, Melbourne on June 16 and Sydney on June 23.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales