Fixtures - Top Bar

Mike Phillips relishing his new lease of life at Sale Sharks


They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but Sale Sharks scrum-half Mike Phillips claims he is learning plenty during his first foray into domestic English rugby.

The 34-year-old spent the first ten years of his professional career playing in the Pro12 before spending the last five in France’s Top 14, but joined Sale from Racing 92 over the summer.

Phillips has started three of the Sharks’ four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this term and even with his ample experience – having won 94 Wales caps and toured with the British & Irish Lions on two occasions – he admits it has been a real test.

“It is just as I thought – incredibly tough, every team is capable of beating every team this year,” said Phillips, speaking at the launch of this year’s Aviva Community Fund alongside team-mates Josh Beaumont and Mike Haley.

“It is a competitive league and there are no weak sides, it is a battle every week and it is great to be part of.

“It is great to test myself towards the end of my career, I am a big competitor and I want to test myself against a lot of the young talent coming through.

“There are some big international signings in the league, it is a chance for me to push myself on and be competitive at the highest level.”

The Aviva Community Fund is a nationwide initiative that lends a helping hand to local communities by offering support and funding for local clubs, causes and projects.

It has already benefited over 320,000 people, through 431 winning projects across the UK, and this year, local grassroots sports clubs can apply or reapply for funding in a new, sport-specific category.

And Phillips believes funding local clubs – where most professional players developed their love of the game – is vital for the future of the sport.

“It is where it all starts as a young kid,” he added. “It is where the game begins and it is important that clubs and communities have the funding to cover the basic needs and development of youngsters, as well as building that community spirit.

“I started out at Under-9s with St Clears in West Wales, moved on to Whitland RFC, they are the two grassroots clubs that I played for and it was a massive part of my upbringing and development. It is a really important part of your rugby career.”

Sale had an incredibly successful season last year as they finished sixth in Aviva Premiership Rugby to secure a European Rugby Champions Cup spot.

But Phillips sees no reason why his new team can’t do even better this time around.

“I am very driven still and I want to win games, it is nice to be in a quality side like Sale and be given a chance to do that,” said Phillips.

“The guys did really well last year, had a great home record and qualifying for the European Cup was massive.

“We are trying to equal that and maybe go a few places up the board, that would be great but we are under no illusions, it is going to be very, very tough.

“We are all going to have to keep working hard, plugging away each training session.”

Premiership Rugby and the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs are supporting the Aviva Community Fund, a nationwide initiative which offers funding of up to £25,000 to grassroots sports clubs and other community organisations close to your heart. Enter at from September 13.

Latest News

100th Harlequins appearance ‘would be special’, says hooker Dave Ward

Harlequins hooker Dave Ward has said it would be “something special” if he made his 100th appearance for the club on…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Saints team named for derby day

The Northampton Saints team has been announced for Saturday’s East Midlands derby with Leicester. Ben Foden will lead the side…

JJ Hanrahan

Wasps team for Worcester Warriors

Dai Young has named his side to make the short trip to Sixways this Sunday, to take on Worcester Warriors…


Internationals return for Bath Rugby

Five of Bath Rugby’s international contingent have returned to the starting line-up for their Aviva Premiership match-up with Saracens tomorrow…

Taulupe Faletau

Leicester Tigers team news for Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 10

Logovi'i Mulipola and JP Pietersen return from international duty to join the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's East Midlands derby…


Saracens name team to face Bath

Saracens have named their team to face Bath at the Recreational Ground for Saturday’s round ten Aviva Premiership clash, kick-off…

Maro Itoje

Potgieter to lead Warriors against Wasps

Flanker Dewald Potgieter will skipper Warriors this Sunday as they take on Wasps in the West Midlands derby at Sixways…


TEAM NEWS: Gloucester Rugby vs Bristol Rugby

Mark Tainton shuffles the pack ahead of Bristol’s trip to Gloucester on Saturday (4.30pm KO). The Acting Head Coach makes…

Adrian Jarvis

Horwill and Roberts return for Harlequins

Harlequins has announced the team to play Newcastle Falcons in Round 10 of the Aviva Premiership at Kingston Park on…

Jamie Roberts

Newcastle Falcons team to face Harlequins

Evan Olmstead returns from international duty as Newcastle Falcons make three changes for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership visit of Harlequins to…

Evan Olmstead

Gloucester Rugby unchanged for local derby against Bristol Rugby

Gloucester Rugby have named an unchanged starting XV for the third week in a row as they welcome Bristol Rugby…


Wasps’ Kearnan Myall prepared for ‘dangerous’ Worcester Warriors

Wasps second-row Kearnan Myall admits it will take an almighty second-half blitz if his side are to see off Worcester…

Kearnan Myall has played seven times in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season

Gloucester Rugby’s Matt Scott expects rivals to earn first win soon

Gloucester Rugby’s Matt Scott is adamant Bristol Rugby will get their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win sooner rather than later…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Preview of this weekend’s international and Aviva Premiership action

[audio mp3=""][/audio]


Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport and ITV Sport this weekend

Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs kick-off another action-packed weekend of Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport and ITV. Sharks take…

Bt Sport presenters

Chiefs side to face Sale Sharks

Rob Baxter says it’s imperative his Exeter Chiefs side keep their “foot on the pedal” after securing back-to-back victories in…


Sale Sharks team to face Exeter Chiefs

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership tomorrow evening at the AJ…


Harlequins sign Samoan international Elia Elia

Harlequins can confirm today (Thursday 1st December) that Samoan international hooker Elia Elia has joined the Club on a short…

Harlequins Group

Nathan Hughes and Marland Yarde to start for England

England head coach Eddie Jones has made two changes to his side to play Australia in Saturday’s final match of…

Nathan Hughes will make his first Test start for England

Referee appointments: Wayne Barnes and Matthew Carley in action

Wayne Barnes returns to Aviva Premiership Rugby action on Friday night when Exeter Chiefs look to steal a march on…

Wayne Barnes refereed New Zealand's 24-19 win over France last weekend