2011 Rugby World Cup: Mike Phillips ready for Fiji revenge

Rugby World Cup 2011: Fiji v Wales

Venue:
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Date:
Sunday, 2 October
Kick-off:
0600 BST/ 1800 NZ
Coverage:
Scores and reports on BBC website plus live text commentaries on all home nations matches; updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1, live commentary on TalkSport radio
Mike Phillips in the Wales v Samoa match
Mike Phillips played the last 23 minutes against Fiji in 2007

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips is desperate to avenge the "Nantes nightmare" by beating Fiji in the final Pool D match in Hamilton on Sunday.

In 2007 Phillips was in the Wales team which were beaten 38-34 by Fiji in Nantes and dumped out of the World Cup.

Four years on Wales are all but in the quarter-finals even before they play the Fijians.

"I was involved in [2007] and it wasn't very nice. I want to get one over on Fiji and put that to bed," he said.

Unless Samoa pull off a shock win over South Africa on Friday, victory over Fiji will guarantee Wales a quarter-final spot - probably against Ireland on 8 October in Wellington.

Even a bonus point in defeat would likely prove enough for Wales in the final permutations, although the picture will become clearer once the Springboks have tackled Samoa.

Phillips is one of six survivors in the current Wales World Cup squad from the match-day 22 which went down to Fiji in '07. The others were James Hook, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones.

He came on as a replacement for Dwayne Peel after 57 minutes at a crucial time in the match.

Wales went into the game four years ago confident they would get the last eight, but the open style they adopted played into Fiji's hands, even though they out-scored the Islanders five tries to four.

"As a squad we haven't really mentioned it [four years ago] or talked about it," revealed Phillips.

"It's a different group of people and a different squad. This something else.

"We've just got to put things right, get the 'w' and move on from there. We can't look to far ahead of ourselves."

Phillips, who will link up with Bayonne after the World Cup after leaving the Ospreys in the summer, admits it is the best squad he has been involved in since making his Wales debut eight years ago.

"This group is very young, and energetic, professional, switched on and talented. It's without doubt the most talented group of people I have been involved in. So it's just an honour to be involved with it," added 29-year-old Phillips.

"We are all in a good place and the moment and working hard.

"The talent coming through is great. Scott [Williams] in the centre… Toby Faletau is on fire at the moment."

"As individuals we may drift off and sleeping in bed you might dream of the finals which is fair enough, but everyone knows how difficult the next game is.

"It's all about the next one and we can't really look too far ahead, we all know how tough Fiji are and they've given us difficult games in the last couple of years.

"So we will be concentrating on them and really making sure we cover everything this week.

"Every game has been tough and hopefully that will stand us in good stead in the future now. Hopefully we can win this game and go on to the quarters and progress well.

"The end goal is go as far as we can but it's a very tough thing to do."

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