Mike Phillips: We believe we can topple world champions
WALES are confident of causing a major upset by toppling world champions New Zealand and recording their first victory over the All Blacks since 1953.
That’s the view of scrum half Mike Phillips who urges his teammates to raise their game, as well as the roof at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday evening.
Wales face the world’s best team by a mile, World Cup winners and runaway holders of the inaugural Rugby Championship, on the back of two humiliating defeats.
Argentina and Samoa both triumphed with ease in Cardiff this month, Wales going from Grand Slam holding heroes to zeroes in successive weeks and now five games without a win.
So far on their tour of Europe, New Zealand have swatted away Scotland 51-22 in Edinburgh and Italy 42-10 in Rome to maintain an unbeaten record stretching to 19 games.
Wales are 11-1 rank outsiders to win on Saturday with Richie McCaw’s mean machine 1-12 – the hosts are this weekend’s autumn internationals big underdogs with the bookies offering better odds on the Azzurri to beat Australia.
A home win would be up there with other major shock wins over New Zealand in recent times, like the one South Africa pulled off in the 1995 World Cup final and that of France in the 1999 and 2007 tournaments.
On being asked if Wales were ever confident of beating the All Blacks, Phillips, who win his 71st cap on Saturday, replied: "I think so. Quietly. I think you have to believe in yourself.
"We’ve had a little bit of success over the last couple of years.
"It’s a massive game and we need to be confident and we need to have that belief individually and as a team to hopefully get the win, but it’s going to be a tough ask.
"I think we can go out there and put a performance together. There are ways of winning games. You have to win at the set piece and do things throughout that 80 minutes to get the victory.
"If we perform well defensively, pick the right options in attack, then hopefully we can be there or thereabouts and get a victory.
"We are obviously bitterly disappointed with the first two games and it gives us a chance to put things right," added the Bayonne No 9.
"We want to put some pride and passion back into that jersey. There’s always pressure on us when we are playing for Wales and everyone expects us to perform well. Whenever you’ve got the Wales jersey on, you want to give it your best shot and improve as much as you can and enjoy it as well.
"I’ve certainly enjoyed playing for Wales over the years and hopefully this will be a game to remember."