Mike Phillips has urged the Wales team to believe in themselves ‘even if nobody else does’. Phillips admitted to being devastated by the 26-19 defeat by England in Cardiff on Friday night, but wants to ensure they bounce back at Murrayfield on Saturday. ‘We know we can still go on and win the championship,’ said Philips. ‘We can still go on and win the rest of our games and that is our aim now.
‘I know there are a few big wins ahead of us and there is no reason why we can’t go and do well from here. Everybody in the Six Nations is capable of beating everybody and that is what makes it so exciting and a great tournament.We know it’s going to be tough now but we have to go to Scotland to get a win. We just need to get back on the horse and play some rugby. We have to believe in ourselves, even if nobody else does. We are just thinking too much about things and we just need to get out there and throw the ball about.’
‘Scotland are the most improved side in the last couple of years. They will be tough and we know they will be up for it but we have won up there before and there is no reason why we cannot do it again.’
Phillips thought that England got away lightly in the first half at the Millennium Stadium when Louis Deacon was yellow-carded. The England lock committed a professional foul, killing the ball in front of the posts and Wales failed to capitalise on his sin bin, scoring just three points, as did England. ‘We didn’t quite take them in the first half hour but there was a blatant try on when they got a yellow card,’ said Phillips. ‘We didn’t capitalise on that and we had a couple of other chances but we didn’t have much ball and were forced to live off scraps.’
‘It was difficult, we dug deep and did well to get back into the game. When the game broke up, we looked dangerous and were a far more of a threat. When we had the confidence to offload in the tackle and play a bit of rugby we were a better side.’
Phillips claimed that Wales also fell victim to England’s spoiling tactics, adding: ‘The yellow card was a long time coming. They slowed our ball down well and when you tried to pick the ball up they were lying all over it and that made it very difficult. That was the ref’s interpretation and he is a good referee, one of the best in the world, but there were a couple of forward passes out there which were blatant when you looked at the screen. ‘It was just disappointing and he needed help from his assistants as well.’
And he thought that Wales could have done a lot more to combat England’s confrontational style. ‘They were big boys and we needed to throw it around and when we did that we were good but they were just too strong for us up front in the end,’ said Phillips. ‘We struggled at the set-piece and the yellow card killed us and we know we cannot afford to go down to 14-men in a game like this.’
‘All the boys gave everything and it’s all you can do as a player but the management pick the team and it down them what happens now.’
Phillips saw huge promise in three Welsh youngsters in particular.
‘We have some youngster in the side now and I thought Jonathan Davies was outstanding and Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate were superb,’ said Phillips.