Phillips vows to prove his value

PA Sport
Mike Phillips is ready to lead from the front for Wales
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Mike Phillips is ready to lead from the front for Wales

Mike Phillips is ready to lead from the front when he reclaims Wales' number nine shirt against Samoa on Friday night.

Phillips' demotion to bench duty ahead of Wales facing Argentina last weekend caused many raised eyebrows as interim head coach Rob Howley opted for inexperienced Scarlets scrum-half Tavis Knoyle instead.

Bayonne-based Phillips' inability to attend a pre-autumn Tests training camp in Poland because of club commitments was an undoubted factor in the decision, and he said: "Unfortunately, I couldn't go to Poland, so preparation wasn't great for me for last week's game. I didn't go to Poland, where a lot of work was done, so I guess maybe it (not being picked to start against Argentina) was a possibility."

He went on: "But whenever I wear the jersey, I am going to give absolutely everything. People know that.

"There is always pressure, but you have just got to play your role and give it everything.

"I am an experienced player who has been in the Wales squad for a number of years now. I know the way in which we are going to play and I know the management team very well."

Phillips, wing George North, centre Jamie Roberts, prop Paul James and number eight Toby Faletau are the only players who started last year's punishing World Cup pool clash against Samoa in New Zealand that will run out for kick-off at the Millennium Stadium.

And with Wales' past two victories over the South Sea Islanders being by a combined total of only 11 points, Phillips knows a rigorous evening's work awaits.

"It is another tough game against a top side," he added. "I thought they were great in the World Cup last year and were a bit unlucky at times.

"It is going to be an extremely physical game, we know that. They are going to come out gunning for us."

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