The Ospreys are delighted to confirm that Mike Phillips has signed a new long-term contract. The British & Irish Lions scrum half will remain an Osprey until at least 2014 after agreeing a four year deal with the region.
The news brings an end to speculation surrounding the future of a player who has been at the Ospreys since joining in the summer of 2007, making his debut in a 13-13 Magners League draw against Edinburgh at Murrayfield in October that year, following his delayed arrival at the Liberty Stadium due to his involvement in the Rugby World Cup.
Capped 38 times by Wales and three times by the Lions, 27-year old Phillips has recently returned from an injury lay-off after suffering ligament damage in the win over Clermont Auvergne at the Liberty Stadium last October, coming off the bench in the recent Magners League game against Connacht before returning to the starting line-up at Murrayfield against Edinburgh yesterday.
Speaking after signing his new contract, Mike Phillips said:
"I’ve really enjoyed my time as an Osprey over the last three seasons and I’m pleased that I’ve been able to agree a new contract. With my future sorted, it means that I can just concentrate now on getting myself up to speed for some of the big games that we’ve got coming up. We have ambitions to be among the best sides in Europe, we aren’t there yet but we are heading in the right direction. With the set-up here, everything is in place to go all the way and I’m excited about the future for the Ospreys. There’s a lot of expectations on us, but that’s something that we just have to live with.
"We’ve got a good squad with real quality throughout and some talented youngsters coming through. It’s a close knit group, I’ve got a lot of good friends here, and the way that we are improving year-on-year there’s a lot to look forward to, the future is very bright for us. With the ambitions we have as a group and the challenges we face, I’m really enjoying myself and I don’t see that there’s a need for me, or anybody, to want to go anywhere else.
"The Ospreys have helped me to develop as a player no end over the last three years, the improvement in my game has allowed me to represent Wales and the Lions while I’ve been here. I want to further my international career with Wales over the next few years and get on the next Lions tour, and if I’m going to achieve those longer term aims, then the Ospreys and the coaches here will clearly be a big factor in that, like they have been with everything I’ve achieved since coming here."
Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley, commented:
"It’s great to have more positive news about another valuable member of the squad committing to the region long-term following on from the announcement last week that Richard Hibbard had signed a new contract with the Ospreys. Clearly, our squad is a talented one, and with that comes the inevitable situation where our players will be linked to other clubs. That’s a part of the modern game that we have to accept and live with.
"Mike is the latest in a line of proven internationals who have been happy to re-sign for the Ospreys, which shows the faith that the players have in what we are trying to achieve. Mike is a player who has shown at the very highest level what he can do. He has had some injury problems, but I know that he is determined to show that they are behind him, and to reach the heights of last summer with the Lions once again, which is excellent news for the Ospreys and Wales. He’s a different type of scrum-half to any others that we have here, his physicality and enthusiasm causes endless problems for the opposition, and we are naturally delighted that another quality player sees his long term future here with us."