And the Ospreys, Wales and British & Irish Lions star has already seen a bit of himself in Knoyle and it's a character trait he believes the whole Wales squad should cling to.
"He's quick and strong and pretty self confident and he needs to hold onto that in particular. He's a real prospect and I'll do everything I can to help him come through," said Phillips.
"I'll be saying to Tavis and the others that they have to continue to believe in themselves, Warren does, that's why they are here and he's proved over many years that he's a pretty good judge of these things.
"We are sometimes very quick to put others up on a pedestal in Welsh rugby, and South Africa will bring some real talent to the party whichever squad they pick, but we have some great players too and a good mix of youngsters now who will maybe bring some of that extra confidence of youth with them.
"The last time many of us played South Africa we came away with a win (there are nine former Test Lions from the summer of 2009 in Warren Gatlands 27-man squad, five who played in the final Test win in Johannesburg) and we know in the second Test with the Lions we probably should have won as well, but in all fairness the Springboks won the series and there is no doubting they will be an incredibly tough prospect.
"We were very disappointed in South Africa and it's great to get the opportunity to play them again, but we deserve to go into the game with some real confidence.
"It's not about arrogance, but about belief in ourselves as players. In Wales we are very good at building opposition teams up, but we have not been so good in the past at backing ourselves.
"But we have a core of players here who have been playing well and improving for two or three years - or even four or five - and we know we have the ability so why shouldn't we be confident?
"As Warren says, we have to believe we can win, even if we just change our national character a bit for those 80 minutes and turn it on then, that will be enough, but the belief must be and will be there."
And Knoyle as a self-confessed Phillips fan will be listening intently. The 19-year-old, 6ft 1inch, 16stone Scarlet is very much looking forward to linking up with the Wales squad and beginning his learning curve at international level.
"Mike Phillips has been my favourite player, I've played against him, he's been my idol and he's the player I've always looked at and wanted to be like," said Knoyle.
"I've got the greatest respect for him and I've got to try and nick some things from him and concentrate. He's a great player and playing alongside someone like him will be fantastic.
"It was a great shock when the text message came through telling me I was to be called up and it goes to show how much the Scarlets believe in the youngsters, and giving youngsters a chance to go.
"Moving out of the Ospreys region to the Scarlets was a big move at the time, but it was an easy decision to be honest with you because there was a lot of competition for the position at the Ospreys.
"The Scarlets have been absolutely great to me since I joined. Nigel (Davies) promised me that I'd be part of this team and that I'd get game time and that is exactly what has happened.
"I've had to work hard for it. When I came down here I needed to shed a few pounds which I did with the conditioning team and I've learnt a lot of things already - I want to get as much on board as quickly as possible. Being involved this season and playing with the Scarlets has been great for me and once you've had a taste of it, you want it all the time and you get annoyed if you don't play well."
Phillips says he is still humbled by the idea that young players look up to him, but he knows only too well what Knoyle has ahead of him if he is to live up to his own personal expectations, never mind those that will be inevitably be placed on him by others.
"I always took it as a great compliment when people compared me to Terry Holmes and it's just as much a compliment now to hear people talking about Tavis as a player in the mold of Mike Phillips," added Phillips.
"People obviously saw a potential Wales and Lions scrum-half in me when I was a 20-year-old and the truth of the matter is that I've now done that. I've proven I can be one of the best in the world and that is the challenge facing Tavis in the years to come, but I'll be there to help him if I can."
Priced from £25 per person or £80 for a family ( 2 adults, 2 children) tickets for the 'Principality Building Society Summer Test' - Wales v South Africa, Millennium Stadium, Saturday 5th June KO 2.30pm - can be purchased from at the WRU's Cardiff Arms Store (No 8 Westgate Street, Cardiff); via Ticketmaster (tel 08442 777888, www.ticketmaster.co.uk), Ticketline (02920 230130, www.ticketlineuk.com) and via the WRU Official Website www.wru.co.uk/tickets.
The remaining WRU hospitality packages can be snapped up from £119 for the 'SA Gold' package and fans should act fast to secure the hottest tickets via the official website www.millenniumstadium.com.
Further hospitality information is available online for all packages including the 'Platinum Suite' at £229 and the recently launched after popular demand. 'Springbox Suite' at £139 .