Exeter's James Phillips feels in best ever physical condition
Exeter Chiefs number eight James Phillips says he is at his peak physically as the team gear up for the new Premiership season.
Phillips struggled to make an impact in the latter stages of last season after sustaining a broken ankle in September.
He said: "Pre-season has been tough, but at the same time very productive.
"It's been good and I'm probably in the best condition I've ever been in as the staff have worked us really hard, but it'll all be worth it in the long run."
After an impressive start following his move from Bristol last summer, the 23-year-old's season came to an abrupt halt when he broke his ankle against Harlequins.
On his return three months later, he struggled to make an impact in the first team, with Richie Baxter holding down the position at the base of the scrum.
Phillips has been named in the Chiefs' starting line-up for their pre-season friendly against the Cornish Pirates on Saturday.
"I've got the chance to start on Saturday, so it's a big opportunity to try and put down a marker of how I want to start the season.
"There is massive competition across the squad right now, so you've got to make the most of the chances you get.
"The Pirates are a decent side, they did really well last season and it will be a decent test for us.
"We've got to go down there and look to meet their enthusiasm, do the basics and look to try and out play them."