Farrell Hailing Mighty Mike 'World Class' after Lions Romp; THE No.1 PAPER FOR THE LIONS DOWN UNDER
Byline: DELME PARFITT with the Lions Down Under firstname.lastname@example.org
MIKE PHILLIPS was described as "world class" by English fly-half Owen Farrell after the pair linked up for the first time in Lions colours.
Farrell endured a difficult evening, first nearly having his head knocked off by Saracens team-mate Schalk Brits and then turning in a somewhat mixed performance in the pivotal role. But he admitted that playing alongside Welshman Phillips, who ran in two tries and performed with aplomb, had been a joy.
"He is devastating at times, he can unlock a defence on his own," said Farrell.
"I tried to back him up a couple of times but I wasn't needed.
"He is a world-class player and I enjoyed playing outside him.
"It was weird. Putting that shirt on really hit home. Seeing people around you in the same shirt that you look up to, it is a privilege to put on that shirt with them.
"You look at your shirt and think who's gone before. You look at the embroidery the date and you get given a number... I was the 780th player to play for the Lions. You make sure you take that in."
Farrell began the tour firmly behind Irishman Jonny Sexton in terms of the race for the No.10 Test jersey.
And the pecking order didn't really change on the evidence of Saturday, even if the youngster was not as poor as some forum critics were suggesting the immediate aftermath.
He fell victim to a greasy ball on several occasions, and admitted some of his misdirected passes were not pleasing on the eye.
He said: It was tough to handle the ball out there.
"We changed a bit and adapted a bit halfway through the first half and came off better for it.
"It felt fine in the warm up when everything was dry but as soon as your shirt got wet and people's hands were wet passing the ball, which was soaking, you might have been playing in torrential rain as far as the ball was concerned."
On some of his rather comical passes, Farrell added: "I have never done that before. It can't have looked the best.
"But I have never played in humidity like that. …