With Gareth Llewellyn on international duty, Neath assistant coach Kevin George said he and Lyn Jones had no trouble elevating the former Welsh international to the role of skipper.
"Rowland is a player with similar on field presence to Gareth, and he has a huge influence in attack and defence. He is still one of the fittest forwards in the squad, and would play every week if given the chance," said George.
And Phillips will be taking the Steel threat seriously.
"Ebbw Vale are an extremely well organised side, and have had some excellent results over recent months that show they are competitive.
"They are a classic example of a side who play right up to the final whistle, whether they are losing or winning, and seem to have tremendous team spirit.
Ebbw Vale have strengthened their team for this game - obtaining the services of Pontypridd flanker Kingsley Jones on a one game permit.
"Kingsley Jones is a tough character who has played at the top level, and I am sure he will add some quality and a physical presence to the team," Phillips said.
George said: "We are keen to continue the good start to the Welsh League made at Caerphilly last week, but realise that Ebbw Vale are playing on top of their game, having beaten Swansea and been unlucky in narrowly losing to Bridgend.
"They could easily have won both matches, and have carried the form they have shown in Europe and Celtic competitions into the domestic League."
Neath Under-21 star Ricky Richards is included in the Neath first team squad to face Ebbw Vale.
Scrum half Richards, 20, is the captain of Neath RFC Under-21's.
The Neath team to play Ebbw Vale in the Welsh Premiership at The Gnoll, on Friday 15th November, kick off at 7.00pm, will be selected from the following squad: - Adrian Durston John Leyshon Dave Tiueti Gareth Morris Sean Marsden Kevin James Lee Jarvis Shaun Connor, Ricky Richards, Andy Moore Rowland Phillips (c) Steve Tandy Nathan Bonner-Evans Lyndon Bateman, Andy Newman, Hywel Jenkins, Adam Jones Barry Williams, Steve Jones, Duncan Jones, Paul James Andrew Millward.
Jones to start for Vale