He was rushed out to New Zealand to join the party when Billy James was injured. In the end, the wily Cardiff hooker played in three games and emerged with a medal from the third place play off game against Australia. His Rugby World Cup debut came in the win over Canada in Invercargill and he also played in the quarter-final triumph over England. Three appearances, three wins!
The Wales Team Manager at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, Phillips will fulfill the same role in France in September. If you click on the audio link in this story you will hear him reminisce about 1987 and talk about the development of the tournament over the past twenty years. So where did it all begin for Wales at that inaugural Rugby World Cup?
It was wild, wet and windy - well, it was Wellington - when Wales played their first Rugby World Cup match twenty years ago today. On 25th May 1987, Richard Moriarty led Wales out at Athletic Park to face Ireland in their opening Pool 2 match of the inaugural tournament based in New Zealand and Australia.
Ireland had beaten Wales 15-11 at Cardiff Arms Park in their delayed 1987 Five Nations match finally played on 4th April 1987 after it was postponed because of a frozen pitch and went into the match as slight favourites to top the Pool. When Wales won the toss and opted to play into the howling gale in the first half - and then proceeded to shut the Irish out - the hard work had been done by half time. With half backs Jonathan Davies and Robert Jones running the show, Wales went on to win 13-6. The only try of the game was scored by Mark Ring courtesy of a John Devereux break with Davies weighing in with two drop goals and Paul Thorburn with a penalty goal.
Wales are currently Down Under for their two Test series against Australia as part of their preparations for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France later this year but twenty years ago that first Rugby World Cup only featured sixteen invited teams with no prior qualification rounds. Only seven IRB members appeared with South Africa excluded due to the international boycott, plus nine other teams who were considered the best of the rest in the world at that time.
New Zealand were crowned champions after beating France 29-9 in the final at Eden Park while Wales enjoyed their highest finishing position so far by beating Australia 22-21 in the third place play-off in Rotorua.
25th May 1987 - Athletic Park, Wellington, New Zealand
Wales 13 Ireland 6 (Click Here for Full Match Report)
Wales: P Thorburn; I Evans, J Devereux, M Ring, A Hadley; J Davies, R Jones; J Whitefoot, K Phillips, S Evans, R Moriarty (captain), R Norster, G Roberts, R Collins, P Moriarty
Try - M Ring
Pen - P Thorburn
DGs - J Davies 2
Ireland: H MacNeill; T Ringland, B Mullin, M Kiernan, K Crossan; P Dean, M Bradley; P Orr, T Kingston, D Fitzgerald, D Lenihan (capt), W Anderson, P Matthews (J Glennon), B Spillane, D McGrath
Pens - M Kiernan 2
Referee: Kerry Fitzgerald (Australia)
Welsh Results at RWC 1987
Pool 2: Ireland 6 Wales 13; Wales 29 Tonga 16; Wales 40 Canada 9
QF: Wales 16 England 3.
SF: Wales 6 New Zealand 49.
3rd Place Play-Off: Australia 21 Wales 22