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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 June 2006, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Phillips relishes Pichot struggle
Scrum-half Mike Phillips has continued to improve for Wales
Scrum-half Mike Phillips has continued to improve for Wales

Raul Conti Stadium, Puerto Madryn
Sunday, 11 June
Kick-off: 1840 BST
Live on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and this website

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips is eager to prove himself against one of the best in the business when he faces Argentina captain Agustin Pichot.

Phillips lines up opposite the Pumas' Stade Francais number nine in the first Test in Puerto Madryn on Sunday.

"Pichot is world class and it's great to pit yourself against these players and see how you measure up," he said.

"It will be a great experience that I'm sure I'll learn from, he pulls all the strings for the Pumas."

The Cardiff Blues 23-year-old aims to show his World Cup credentials to new Wales coach Gareth Jenkins, with first-choice Dwayne Peel left in Wales to recuperate.

Phillips' brilliance in a losing cause against France in the final game of the Six Nations in Cardiff was hailed as one of the best solo performances against Les Bleus in recent years.

Mike Phillips is just the latest in a long line of good Welsh scrum-halves

Pumas captain Agustin Pichot

"All I can do is carry on where I left off against France and play my game. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself," added Phillips, who partners Blues team-mate Nick Robinson at half-back.

"It's been great playing together for both club and country, I think it's helped us both.

"Nick is a bit of a general on the field, he likes to organise people around him and boss people like most outside-halves.

"It's good to have a familiar face outside you but we know it's going to be tough against Argentina."

Pichot could be excused for knowing little of Phillips, who started last season as third-choice for Wales behind Peel and Gareth Cooper, both Lions tourists.

But Phillips' Six Nations performance has seen his scrum-half peers sit up and take notice.

"I saw Mike Phillips have a wonderful game against France in the last week of the Six Nations, everyone was talking about him," Pichot said.

"He is just the latest in a long line of good Welsh scrum-halves who I have admired.

"Wales always seem to produce them ever since Gareth Edwards, Robert Jones, Rob Howley and Dwayne Peel.

"I enjoy playing against them because they are always so good."

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