Mike Phillips has named Adam Jones as the best Wales player he ever shared a pitch with during his 12-year-long international career.
Former Wales scrum-half Phillips has shared a pitch with some legendary players during his time in test rugby, including the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Shane Williams, both of whom he also shared a pitch with for the British and Irish Lions.
While Alun Wyn Jones and Shane Williams may be the two players that come to mind for many when considering the best rugby players that Wales produced in the 2000s, Phillips reckons veteran prop Adam Jones is the best of the lot.
Phillips explained what made Adam Jones so essential to Wales’ hopes to WalesOnline and argued that he was the one player who couldn’t be replaced throughout his career.
Mike Phillips on Adam Jones’ importance to Wales.
“I would always worry if he was out. If anyone else was injured, there would always be someone to come in, but with Adam, for many years, there was no-one else, was there?” Phillips said.
“The nation would have a lockdown in terms of who can we bring in. Adam was pivotal. He was such a scrummager. As a nine, you’ve got that platform and you would win those penalties from scrums.
“Early on, we would get nine points, 12 points up through scrums. That eases the team and gives you a platform to launch and express yourselves. He was outstanding for the Lions as well. You think of the last test in Australia in 2013.
“We were winning penalty, penalty, penalty at scrum-time and it was all down to him, really, and the others. Adam was a huge player, a very valuable player for Wales. He was immense for me.”
— Mike Phillips (@mikephillips009) October 20, 2021
The Welsh duo enjoyed a long career together.
Phillips and Jones spent plenty of time on a pitch together for Wales, with both men making their international debuts in 2003, with the prop last playing for his country in 2014, while the scrum-half won his last test cap in 2015.
The two also toured with the Lions in 2009 and 2013, and played a crucial role in the series victory against Australia after a gut-wrenching loss to South Africa four years before that.
Jones ultimately won 95 caps for Wales and five for the Lions to achieve a century of international appearances, while Phillips fell one short of the 100, winning 94 caps for Wales and five for the Lions.