Phillips relishing NZ Tests
Wales scrum-half raring to take on All Blacks
Last Updated: 11/06/10 12:40pm
Phillips: Relishing test
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips is relishing the challenge ahead of the two Tests against New Zealand.
Warren Gatland's team arrived in Auckland on Friday eight days before the first Test in Dunedin to fully attune to the time differences.
And Phillips can not wait to test himself against the All Blacks in their own backyard, which is also the venue for the 2011 World Cup.
He said: "This is a great place to come to play rugby and test yourself against the very best.
"For me it is a chance to put down a marker and to see what I can do.
"I am determined to give my best because the opportunity is massive and is exciting for any rugby player."
Phillips is aiming to learn more about their opponents' attacking threat when the All Blacks face Ireland in New Plymouth on Saturday.
He added: "We're already starting to train but one of the first priorities will be to watch the All Blacks take on Ireland.
"It's a good opportunity to look at some of their attacking options and we will take full advantage of that.
"I came here to New Zealand with the U21 side in 2003 so I am delighted to be back here again.
"We've got a full week to prepare for the first Test this time and that means we can get ready in the right way. We all want to give it everything we've got.
"The Rugby World Cup in 2011 will be in the back of all our minds as we prepare for the Test matches.
"But the reality for any international player is that a week is a long time in rugby and we are all focused on the first game against the All Blacks.
"Obviously the boys are very tired after the long journey down from Wales but we are confident and determined."
Wales go into the New Zealand Tests on the back of a narrow 34-31 defeat to South Africa on Saturday.
Phillips added: "A lot of positives came out of the South Africa game for us to work on and we know we have to use those positives now. You have to believe in yourselves and I know we are confident.
"It's a very long way to come to play rugby and we all regard it as a truly great honour to be here in New Zealand."
The team held gym sessions within hours of stepping off the plane in New Zealand and on Saturday plan their first full outdoor training session.
Team manager Alan Phillips added: "The team have just been on one of the longest journeys you can have as a rugby player to take on top-class opposition and the first priority is to get over the tiredness.
"They have all been to the gym within hours of getting off the plane and there will be outdoor sessions over the weekend where tired legs will be stretched.
"Then from Monday we will be full on and into preparations to take on the All Blacks."