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Phillips to feature for Wales

Mike Phillips can expect to play a full part in Wales' autumn Tests despite his latest alleged indiscretion.

The British and Irish Lions scrum-half has been named in Wales coach Warren Gatland's 35-man squad for appointments with South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia next month.

And while Gatland plans "a quiet chat" with the Bayonne number nine, he looks set to line up against the Springboks in 17 days' time.

Phillips, 31, has found himself in hot water after he allegedly attended a players' video analysis session at Bayonne earlier this month while under the influence of alcohol.

Bayonne have not yet disclosed what action, if any, they intend taking against Phillips, but Gatland confirmed there will be no sanctions imposed by Wales.

"All I can say is over the last campaigns with us he (Phillips) has been great," Gatland said.

"He conducted himself extremely well with the Lions in Australia, both on and off the field. I am expecting that same sort of attitude from him when he is involved in this (autumn) campaign.

"We will just sit down and have a quiet chat about where his head's at and what he's doing, but there will be no sanctions for him here in this set-up."

Gatland, meanwhile, is looking for his reigning RBS 6 Nations champions to kick on and really make their presence felt during a two-year countdown towards World Cup 2015.

Wales, semi-finalists at the 2011 global tournament in New Zealand, have been grouped with England and Australia next time around, and they could make an early statement during the November programme.

"We have to go in with that belief and confidence," Gatland added.

"It is not a matter of hoping you play well on the day and catch them on a bad day. We know if we go in and play well, we are good enough to win.

"If the players can stay fit, keep their form and with some youngsters coming in to put some pressure on, I think we are in a great position at the moment and we believe we can achieve something special for Welsh rugby.

"We think we have achieved a lot in the last few years and gone through some pretty good times. We think we can do better in the next few years as well.

"At times, we probably haven't performed as well as we would have liked against some of the southern hemisphere teams. Hopefully, there is enough experience now so that we can make an impact against them over the next couple of years."

Gatland has named three uncapped players - Ospreys wing Eli Walker, Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen and Scarlets scrum-half Rhodri Williams - in his squad, but there are no places for injured Lions backs Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert.

Hooker Matthew Rees, meanwhile, is another absentee, with the former Wales captain set to undergo testicular surgery, his regional team the Blues announced.


From Belfast Telegraph