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Gatland hails impact of Rees

Wales boss Warren Gatland has hailed unheralded scrum-half Richie Rees' impact on his team in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Rees will start Friday night's Cardiff clash against tournament favourites France, despite the availability of star half-backs Mike Phillips and Dwayne Peel.

"It will be a shame if the limelight is taken away from him," said Gatland, conscious that Rees' elevation could be eclipsed in the media by a returning Phillips. "Richie has made a definite impact coming off the bench in the last two games, he has impressed us with the way he has trained and this is a great chance for him. He has played himself into the starting line-up."

As for Phillips' call-up, Gatland added: "We couldn't ignore the opportunity to bring Mike back into the fold.

"It was great to see him get a full half for the Ospreys at the weekend, and he is someone who can give us a different option from the bench.

"He is a world-class player and he has been champing at the bit to get back to international rugby.

"He may not be 100% match fit but he still has probably the best pass in northern hemisphere rugby and is a big physical presence, so we know he won't let us down."

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