Phillips ready for England test

Welsh number nine says England game is massive contest

Last Updated: 13/02/12 10:10pm

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Mike Phillips: Big game for Wales against England

Mike Phillips: Big game for Wales against England

Sky Bet

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips says their next RBS Six Nations clash with England is now a massive game with both sides unbeaten heading to their Twickenham showdown.

Wales will look to lock-up the Triple Crown at Twickenham with a win that would leave them two away from Grand Slam glory.

Although World Cup semi-finalists Wales and title rivals England both boast a 100% record, those victories have been achieved in starkly contrasting fashion.

While Wales posted 50 points and six tries in defeating Ireland and Scotland, England were thankful for two Charlie Hodgson touchdowns - both courtesy of charged-down kicks - to edge out Scotland and Italy.

But Wales will be conscious of a poor recent record at Twickenham, having won just once from their last 13 visits and conceding an average 35 points a time during that period.


"It is a massive game now, it is set up nicely," said Wales scrum-half Phillips, who heads back to Bayonne this week for his club's Top 14 appointment with Clermont Auvergne next weekend.

"It doesn't really matter who is favourite. We will go up there full of confidence and do what we have been doing, which is working hard for each other.

"We are in a good place at the moment.

"We played them three times last year, including two games before the World Cup, so we know what to expect. It is going to be a really tough game, but it is about doing our part right.

"We've shown when we get the ball that we are dangerous. Italy threw it away (against England) really. They were up by nine points and in control, and then they threw the game away. They will be frustrated.

"But to be fair to England, they have had two wins, and a win is a win. They are two from two. They are a new side, so it is important we go up there with a solid defence because they have got some threatening, dangerous players."


Wales coach Warren Gatland, meanwhile, is confident that Sam Warburton (leg) and wing George North (ankle) will be fit to face England on Saturday week, with lock Alun-Wyn Jones also in contention after starting his comeback from a toe injury for the Ospreys three days ago.

"The breakdown was a bit of a lottery in the first-half (against Scotland)," Phillips added. "They spoiled our ball, came in from the side a fair bit and stopped us playing, but we played a bit better in the second-half and we scored some nice tries.

"If you look at the side we had out there it was a really young team, with some boys getting their first caps, and I thought we showed some great qualities."

Wales prop Adam Jones backed Phillips' assessment of the Welsh young guns who are providing Gatland with selection options that perhaps he could only have dreamt about three years ago.

"Everyone says about strength in depth, and these young guys coming in are no mugs," Jones said.

"They play what is in front of them, rather than play people on the team sheet or the match programme, and it is an excellent attitude to have. When we attack, we are confident we can score tries against most teams.

"Going to Twickenham trying to win the Triple Crown is an exciting prospect. They (England) can still win it, too, and they are a tough side.

"I am sure the Welsh nation is going to get revved up again. The fans are brilliant, and it is good we can give them something to shout about, rather than 'here we are, fourth place again'."

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