Mike Phillips

2011-09-22 09:50
Mike Phillips (Gallo Images)

Full name: William Michael Phillips
Date of birth: August 29 1982
Place of birth: Bancyfelin, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Height: 1.91 m
Weight: 104 kg
Nickname: Mike, Phillsy, the Spaniard
Position: Scrumhalf
Club: Bayonne

Mike Phillips is one of the most combative scrumhalfs in world rugby, and at 1.91 metres tall and weighing in at over 100 kilograms he can afford to be.

The Bayonne number nine is renowned for his physicality and bravery, but also displays the technique and vision needed to be a top scrumhalf. A fact made less surprising when considering that Phillips models his game after former Springbok nine Joost van der Westhuizen.

The scrumhalf grew up on his family’s dairy farm in west Wales and spent his teenage years playing as a flank for Whitland RFC, local rugby team. Phillips then moved to Carmarthen RFC where he switched from the back row to scrumhalf, his preferred position.

In 2002 Phillips moved from Carmarthen to Llanelli Scarlets but was kept out of the starting line-up by Welsh international scrumhalf Dwayne Peel. Phillips bit-part role at Scarlets eventually lead to him signing for the Cardiff Blues in 2005, where he received the first team game time that he craved.

Two years later the scrumhalf was on the move again, this time to the Ospreys and with money, rather than game time, as the motivation. At Ospreys, Phillips found himself in a familiar situation, playing second fiddle to another talented number nine.

The British and Irish Lions scrumhalf first filled in as back up for former All Black Justin Marshall and then for  Jamie Nutbrown, also a New Zealander, after Marshall’s move to Montpellier Hérault RC. In June 2011 Phillips left the Ospreys and he will Join Aviron Bayonnais after the World Cup.

The Welsh scrumhalf has regularly been media fodder over the past three years – making headlines with his impressive performances, his relationship with Welsh soul singer Duffy and his off-field incidents.

Most recently Phillips was in hot water for a June 2011 episode that ended with him being restrained by a bouncer and then detained by the police during a night out in Cardiff.

Phillips was subsequently banned by the Welsh Rugby Union for an indefinite period, but was included in the team’s World Cup training squad less than a month later.

The 28-year-old already has four World Cup caps to his name and his aggression and experience will a key to Wales’ push for higher honours at the World Cup.


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