Phillips praises team mates

Two-try hero Mike Phillips hailed the British & Irish Lions' opening night victory over the Barbarians as "a tremendous win" and claimed there were much better performances than his. [more]

Phillips praises team mates

Two-try hero Mike Phillips hailed the British & Irish Lions’ opening night victory over the Barbarians as "a tremendous win" and claimed there were much better performances than his.

Even so, the Bayonne a scrum half picked up the man of the match award in the eight try, 59-8 win over the Barbarians and set a standard for his second half replacement Conor Murray and Ben Youngs to follow.

“It was a tremendous win. We wanted a good performance and the boys fronted up really well. They were difficult conditions, but all in all it was a good way to start the tour,” said Phillips in his post-match, man of the match interview.

“My skills were very poor, it was really difficult out there, but that win is a platform to work off. It’s a good start and we’re looking forward.

“There were far better players out there than me. That was what we are about – we will keep working hard in training and pushing on with every performance.

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“The skip, Paul O’Connell, what a man to lead us with all that experience. When he speaks, everyone listens – you want to fight and play for him just like Sam (Warburton). There were tremendous performances from everyone.”

O’Connell actually just pipped Phillips to the honour of scoring the first try on tour as he dotted down for his first score in a Lions jersey in his 12th appearance in the famous red shirt. Phillips was held up just short, but O’Connell dived over from the base of the ruck in the 28th minute to set the Lions on their way to a convincing victory.

The Welsh scrum half then cut through the Barbarians defence on two occasions to pick up his tries. The first strike came after 32 minutes and the second three minutes into the second half.

On both occasions he had to beat the covering Joe Rokocoko, his Bayonne team mate, to the line and clearly enjoyed doing so.

“I just want to say I was having a bit of banter with Rocs pointing to the line. He’s my teammate and it was just a bit of banter – I wasn’t being big headed,” explained Phillips.

“Playing for the Lions, with so many world class players, is very humbling. It’s a massive honour. Wearing the shirt, after so many great players, is a dream come true. It’s incredible and you still have to pinch yourself.”

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