Phillips insists Wales must put the pride back in the Three Feathers against New Zealand
Mike Phillips insists Wales must put the pride back in the Three Feathers against New Zealand.
The Grand Slam champions have come under pressure after defeats against Argentina and Samoa stretched their losing streak to five.
They face the All Blacks at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and Phillips admits Wales have to bounce back.
"We know we're going to get a lot of flak but it's important we show we can stand up. We have to be strong.
"It's quite a young group and a lot of them haven't experienced something like this before. But the senior players have and we can bounce back - we've done it in the past and we can do it again.
"We're young and have had a lot of injuries, which has been unfortunate, but we can't look for excuses because we're bigger than that. These things make you stronger and we have to be positive and learn from this.
"New Zealand is a chance to put some pride back in the jersey and we have to do that. We have to show people that we're proud to pull that jersey on."
Wales have failed to overcome the world champions in 59 years but will be led by Warren Gatland in their final two autumn clashes.
Phillips has defended interim head coach Rob Howley, and insists the players must take the blame, but he admits the return of Gatland will be a boost.
"The players on the pitch have to stand up," added Phillips.
"We're the ones making silly mistakes, dropping the ball and giving silly penalties away.
"It's fine margins. It's the players that have to stand up. We are off on a lot of things. You have to get the basics of rugby right. We have to improve these things."
"But it will be a boost to have him back. We have a great management team, all the players respect them and want to play well for them and the Welsh public."
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
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