2013 Lions: Respect key to success says Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips Lions

British and Irish Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips believes there will be few difficulties in creating a strong team ethos for the tour to Australia.

The Wales and Bayonne star says the high regard the players hold for each other's skills helps ease the process.

The 30-year-old also says the shared desire to beat the Wallabies will help.

"When you respect all the players I think you bond much quicker, there's such great talent in the squad and it's an honour to be part of it," he said.

Phillips speaks from experience having played all three Tests in the losing series against South Africa in 2009.

Although the Lions were beaten 2-1 in that series, then coach Sir Ian McGeechan forged a unified tour squad from his pick of Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish players that pushed the Springboks all the way.

"I think it is [easy to blend]. The last tour was great, everyone got on really well and that's what made it so special really," Phillips added.

"Unfortunately we lost the series but we played some outstanding rugby and we finished on a positive with a win.

"But we've got to go one further now and get a [series] victory down there [in Australia].

"I was on the last tour but we lost, so I want on my CV that I've been part of a winning series with the Lions.

"That's what's missing, that's what we all want, we're going down with a winning mentality and we've certainly got the squad to do it.

"It's all about getting together now and progressing week by week, going down there and being a success."

Phillips will contest the Lions number nine shirt with Conor Murray of Ireland and England's Ben Youngs, whose hooker brother Tom was also selected on the tour.

"Myself and my brother have both got some tremendous competition, but we are going to dive straight in and get on with it," Leicester scrum-half Youngs said.

"I am looking forward to playing with some of the world's best.

"Australia are a world-class team, and they will make it as hard as they can for us, but we will blend together as quickly as we can.

"We've got tremendous coaches and players, and I am sure we have got a great chance down there."

Wales' Richard Hibbard, Tom Youngs and his England team-mate Dylan Hartley were the three hookers originally selected in coach Warren Gatland's 37-man Lions squad.

But Ireland's Rory best has been called up after for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes during his Northampton side's Premiership final defeat to Leicester.

The Lions are first in action on 1 June with a warm-up game against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, before heading onwards to Australia.

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