Mike Phillips is determined to drink every last sip of adulation in the biggest week of his international career as Wales prepare for a shot at the Grand Slam.
Victory over Ireland on Saturday moved Wales to the brink of the RBS 6 Nations title and the country will be in a state of frenzied excitement in anticipation of France’s arrival at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Captain Ryan Jones lifted the Triple Crown trophy at Croke Park and is now preparing to “lock the doors, draw the curtains and turn the answerphone off” to try and remain level-headed.
But Phillips does not want to miss a beat.
He was consigned to the bench for the Grand Slam-winning game against Ireland in 2005 - now he is the incumbent scrum-half after edging out long-time rival Dwayne Peel.
“This week I’ll be walking the streets with my Wales number nine jersey on!” Phillips laughed.
“It’s all in our hands now, we’re playing at home and it’s going to be a fantastic day.
“I was on the bench last time we had the Grand Slam game and I didn’t get on, so it would be great to play in this one and hopefully be a part of history.
“We all remember that Ireland game in 2005 and hopefully we can do the same again.”
Phillips was a central character in the drama of the Croke Park victory, Wales’ first in Dublin for eight years.
As Ireland looked to pull clear after dominating the first 20 minutes, Phillips produced a powerful, try-saving tackle to deny Shane Horgan.
It may have been too early to be considered match-winning but it certainly affected the course of the game. After two Ronan O’Gara penalties, the converted try would have put Ireland 13-0 up.
Instead, Wales took heart from their goal-line defiance, Stephen Jones kicked them onto the scoreboard and at half-time Ireland’s lead was 6-3. It had been a 10-point turnaround.
Two minutes before half-time Phillips was sin-binned for dropping a knee on Irish prop Marcus Horan. In two key plays Wales had seen the good and the bad of Mike Phillips.
Coach Warren Gatland was furious - he had preached the need for discipline all week - and Phillips found half-time distinctly uncomfortable, although he has accused Horan of over-reacting.
“I did want to shoot myself really but I thought the guy made a huge meal of it. I was just trying to get the ball off him and he was holding on to it, which is a penalty in itself,” said Phillips.
“I hardly touched him. Perhaps it looked worse than it was. It was a bit uncomfortable at half-time. The coaches didn’t say much to me. I was just anxious to get back on the field and make my presence felt again. I did that so I was delighted.”