The summer acquisitions of Xavier Rush, Marc Stcherbina and Andy Powell are giving Cardiff Blues fans great hope for the coming season, as they will undoubtedly re-enforce the starting fifteen and give the team greater strength in depth.
However, perhaps the pick of the new recruits is Mike Phillips from Llanelli Scarlets, who looks set to give Ryan Powell a real run for his money for the number 9 berth. Mike has already developed a close understanding and partnership with team mate Nick Robinson, playing together for Wales age grade teams throughout their young careers and also winning full honours during Wales summer tour to North America.
Cardiffblues.com caught up with Mike to find out some insights for our readers.
Question: How are you settling in since joining the Cardiff Blues?
Mike Phillips: Its been great. The new boys have made me feel at home Im really looking forward to the new season weve been training hard with the Blues now for 4 or 5 weeks.
How did you first get into rugby?
MP: I started playing when I was in Parc y Felin Primary School when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I played local club San Clers in the Under 9s and then moved on to Hendy and the Scarlets before joining the Blues this summer.
Were your family a big influence on you following your sporting career?
MP: My brother Rob was a big influence on me, I used to go and watch him play for Whitland and hes now playing for Bedwas, and obviously my parents were a big influence they didnt push me in to anything but were and still are very supportive of me.
Did you always play scrum half?
MP: Ive always played scrum half since I started in the under 9s and thats my favourite position, but in school I did play flanker after I had a bit of a growth spurt
Were there any teachers in school who were a big influence on you?
MP: Graham Evans was our PE teacher in school and he was a big influence, he played to quite a high level himself. I also used to watch the older boys play in the side with my brother.
Are you interested in any other sports?
MP: I really like playing cricket but with all the training over the summer I havent had a chance to play as many games as Id like. I also like watching boxing and I am a big fan of most sports really.
Any tips for our Junior Blues readers?
MP: I think the most important thing is to work hard at whatever you are doing and to enjoy it.