British and Irish Lions: Mike Phillips looks to raise his game ahead of tour opener
Last Updated: 01/06/13 11:56am
Mike Phillips: Looking to go one step further with the British and Irish Lions
Wales star Mike Phillips is looking to 'go one step further' in pursuit of a prize that has eluded the British and Irish Lions since 1997.
Phillips hit arguably the form his life in South Africa four years ago but it was still not enough to prevent an agonising 2-1 Test series defeat for the Lions.
The Lions' previous mission to Springbok territory 12 years earlier remains their last series-winning tour and Australia now await Phillips and company, with defeat Down Under not something he intends contemplating.
"The Lions is the ultimate," said Wales and Bayonne scrum-half Phillips. "You want to play the best and, fortunately for me, I thought I played some of my best stuff (in South Africa).
"You are surrounded by great players as well, which tends to bring out the best in you. You don't want to let anyone down. You know what big occasions they are and what they mean to everyone.
"I was pretty pleased with my performances (in 2009) but I have got to go one step further now, top those performances and be part of a Test series-winning team.
"We lost the series but to finish on a high note like we did and win the third Test was important for this tour and for the players coming into it.
"I was pretty pleased with my performances (in 2009) but I have got to go one step further now, top those performances and be part of a Test series-winning team."
"The 2009 tour was a huge success in many ways and it was just gutting we lost the series, but margins in those games are every small.
"It's important now we don't make the same mistakes in this one and we come away with a series win."
Phillips will line up in Saturday's opener against the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium. With fellow scrum-halves Ben Youngs and Conor Murray also on tour, all three number nines might get just a couple of starts before the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.
"Obviously, we are all building for the Test series and we all want those jerseys," Phillips said.
"Any opportunity you get you have got to take it and show how much you want it and how much it means to you. Hopefully, I will take my opportunity at the weekend."
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