Mike Phillips will reach the landmark of 50 Ospreys caps when he takes to the field against London Irish at the Liberty Stadium on Friday evening (KO 8.00pm).
The 28-year old signed for the region three years ago, making his debut in a 13-13 Magners League draw at Murrayfield in October that year, following his delayed arrival at the Liberty Stadium due to his involvement in the Rugby World Cup.
Capped 42 times by Wales and three times by the British & Irish Lions on the 2009 tour to South Africa, Phillips committed his long term future to the region earlier this year, penning a new deal that runs until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Speaking about reaching the 50 on Friday night, Phillips said:
“It’s great to get there. It’s obviously been a bit slower than I would have liked, I’ve had two major injuries since I joined so I’m disappointed not to have played more to be honest, but things happen and that’s out of my control.
“To get to 50 is a huge honour, particularly with a team like the Ospreys where there is huge competition for places. The main thing now is to get to 100, hopefully a lot quicker than I got to 50, stay injury free, and hopefully be a regular and consistent fixture in the Ospreys team for a few seasons yet.”
Head Coach Sean Holley paid tribute to Phillips, saying:
“It’s always a big achievement for a player to get to 50 caps, particularly in Mike’s case as he had some quite serious injuries while he’s been here and has worked hard to get back on the field and wear the Ospreys shirt, something which he takes great pride in.
“He’s had to face up to some strong competition for the nine shirt, while we’ve also had to manage him back from a couple of summer tours, the Lions as well, which all limits his game time at certain stages. When you look at that, it’s a great achievement to get to 50 in just three years. I think now it’s time for Mike to kick on from 50 to 100, and I think we’ll see a mature, more rounded player. He’s a big game player, who’s capable of world class performances for us, and if he can stay injury free then the next part of his career with the Ospreys should be a very successful one.”