William Michael PHILLIPS
Wales Caps: 77 (37-2-38)
Wales Points: 40 (8t)
Wales Debut: v Romania 2003
British & Irish Lions: 2009 (SA) Tests: 3 (1-0-2), 5pts (1t)
Lions Debut: 30/05/2009 v Royal XV
Test Record v Australia: 9 (0-0-9)
Mike Phillips started all three Tests during the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa and has since secured two RBS 6 Nations winners’ medals The scrum-half started every match of Wales’ latest Championship success and returned to his best with a rousing performance against England. Renowned for his physicality, he is often seen as a fourth back-row forward and is a menace around the fringes.
It was in the back-row that he began playing rugby while at Whitland RFC in west Wales before moving on to Carmarthen RFC. He came through the Scarlets ranks as an understudy to 2005 tourist Dwyane Peel and made a try-scoring international debut against Romania in 2003, having represented Wales U21.
He starred for Wales during the 2004 tour of North America, but a lack of first-team opportunities at the Scarlets saw him switch to Cardiff Blues. He continued to flourish but remained in Peel’s shadow until making the Wales No9 jersey his own in 2008, after moving onto the Ospreys. He was an integral member of the Wales side that won the 2008 Grand Slam and was selected on the Lions tour of South Africa the following year.
He played in six matches in South Africa, including all three Tests, and he scored in the opening encounter with the Springboks in Durban.
Since 2009 he has remained one of the first names on Gatland’s team-sheet and he started every clash of Wales’ consecutive Championship crowns.
He joined Bayonne in 2011 and proved the move hadn't hampered his performance with his barnstorming RBS 6 Nations displays.