Lions 2013: Mike Phillips wants series victory in Australia

Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS v BARBARIANS

Venue:
Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong
Date:
Saturday, 1 June
Kick-off:
12:30 BST
Coverage:
Live text commentary on BBC Sport website, mobiles and app

British and Irish Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips is determined to better his 2009 displays and help deliver a first series win in 16 years.

The Welshman was a stand-out performer in South Africa four years ago, one of five players to start all three Tests.

"You are surrounded by great players and it tends to bring out the best in you," said the 30-year-old.

"I was pleased with my own performances but I've got to go on further now, top those and be in a series-winning team."

Phillips starts the opening match of the tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday as favourite to claim the Test number nine jersey again, ahead of England's Ben Youngs and Ireland's Conor Murray.

The Bayonne half-back believes the legacy of the Lions's third-Test win over the Springboks four years ago, having lost the first two, provides a springboard for a more successful outcome in Australia.

Three other Test ever-presents from 2009 - Tommy Bowe, Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip - are strong contenders for further honours, while Rob Kearney, Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and Tom Croft are also back after playing leading roles four years ago.

"Obviously we lost that series but we talked about how important it was to finish the tour on a high ready for this one and the players coming in," Phillips said.

"It was a huge success in many ways and it was gutting we lost the series, but the margins in these games are very small. It is important we don't make the same mistakes this time and come away with the series win."

Phillips is one of nine Welshmen to start the opening tour match on Saturday, with two more on the bench.

He will have plenty of familiar faces in front of him, with an all-Welsh back row, and outside him in the shape of centre partnership Roberts and Jonathan Davies.

In between will be England fly-half Owen Farrell, who Phillips has been working with for the past few weeks.

"We have been getting on very well, off the field as well," he added. "He is a good guy, very down to earth, and you can have a laugh with him, which is probably just as important. He is quality on the field, so it is easy enough.

"Everyone is going to get an opportunity in these first three games and it is down to each individual to show how much you want it and how much it means to you. Hopefully I will take my opportunity this weekend."

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