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Phillips suspension boost for Boks


Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips

Former South Africa full-back Thinus Delport says the indefinite suspension handed down to Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips is great news for the Springboks ahead of the pivotal Pool D meeting between the sides at the World Cup later this year.

Phillips, who recently completed a move from the Ospreys to French club Bayonne, was handed the suspension by the Welsh Rugby Union after an incident outside a McDonalds in Cardiff in the early hours of last Tuesday.

"It's good news for us because Mike is such a key part to the Welsh structure," Delport told BBC Sport. "He adds so much to the Wales team and he's definitely one of the stand-out players."

He added: "To have one of the stand-out players out of the set-up would be advantageous for the South Africa set-up. He offers a lot of physicality, especially round the breakdown. He reminds me a lot of Joost van der Westhuizen when he played for South Africa.

"He's really aggressive in the defence and especially against a team like South Africa you're going to need that physicality and aggressiveness going into the contact."

Phillips is the latest Wales player to attract unwanted headlines.

Gavin Henson was suspended for a week while at Toulon after being involved in a disagreement with two of his team-mates, while Andy Powell left Wasps after being involved in a bar-room brawl that left the back-rower needing stitches in a head wound.

Delport believes these problems are only serving to heap more pressure on the Wales camp.

"If you play international rugby you are going to target any weakness," Delport said.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of the off-field antics that's been happening in the last couple of months [have] put a lot of pressure on the Welsh preparations. Maybe not going into the competition with the best of results recently added to the discipline issues of the key players puts a lot of pressure on the Welsh preparations."

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