Phillips relishes comeback
Wales scrum-half savours return to Test rugby
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 21/03/10 5:35pm
Phillips: Enjoyed international return
Mike Phillips admits he was thrilled to return to the international stage for Wales' final RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy.
"It has been frustrating watching on the television at home, and it was great to be out there in front of all the fans. Playing for Wales is a dream."
Mike Phillips Quotes of the week
The British and Irish Lions scrum-half helped Wales end their frustrating campaign on a high note by seeing off the Azzurri 33-10 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
The match marked Phillips' first international start since the Lions tour of South Africa last year, but he was far from rusty as he repeatedly tested the visitors' defence.
Ospreys star Phillips was recovering from a serious ankle injury for most of the tournament, and while one player does not make a team, his display in Cardiff provokes thoughts of what Wales might have accomplished had he been fit for their entire campaign.
"It's great to be back," said Phillips.
"It has been frustrating watching on the television at home, and it was great to be out there in front of all the fans. Playing for Wales is a dream.
"I have been working hard and been focused on my return, doing everything I could possibly do.
"It was good to get that performance. I have watched all the Six Nations, and the boys have been frustrated, but it's nice to finish on a high and we can build on this going into the summer."
While Phillips was the player in the spotlight, Ospreys team-mate James Hook also made a strong midfield contribution with a commanding two-try performance.
And Hook showed further evidence of his game-breaking ability as he moved to fly-half in the closing stages.
"I found a lot of space and I felt comfortable. Earlier in the championship, those gaps weren't quite there," said Hook.
"Italy are a dogged side and pretty hard to break down, but we stuck to our game-plan and scored a few tries in the second half.
"They tired a little bit, so the likes of myself, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne found some space.
"We knew we had to put in a performance for the full 80 minutes, and we will build on this, even though we are disappointed looking back on the Six Nations campaign."