But the Irish are in confident mood following the Heineken Cup success stories of Leinster, Munster and Ulster and, with a whole host of Lions and a wealth of experience in the bank, plus a sell-out crowd at the Aviva Stadium, Phillips is expecting the kind of challenge that gets his pulse racing.
"They're a top side, they're playing at home and they'll have the crowd behind them," said Phillips, who scored the winning try when the two teams met in last year's 6 Nations.
"We have done well against them in the last two matches but we know they have a great side. Individually they're very strong.
"They're a confident bunch, but we have to go out there with our own confidence and believe in ourselves. There's no reason why we can't go over there and win.
"A similar performance to the World Cup is needed. We made few errors and scored three tries in Wellington. It was a complete performance that day and hopefully we can replicate that.
"We were superb in the quarter-final and we made very few mistakes in the match. Everybody was on song, not just one or two players. That's what you need to win international games - everyone has to perform and be at their best.
"It will be a very difficult game but this is what Test rugby is all about."