Phillips released for training camp
January 5, 2012
Wales will hope Mike Phillips hits try scoring form during the 2012 Six Nations © Getty Images
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has been allowed to attend part of Wales' training camp prior to the 2012 Six Nations.
Phillips, who currently plies his trade for Top 14 side Bayonne, will be released for three days to attend Wales' trip to Spala - the same venue they visited prior to the 2011 World Cup. It is expected that Phillips will join up with his Welsh team-mates from January 22 but has to be back in France for their Round 16 clash with Toulon the following weekend.
"There is no problem for the club to allow Mike Phillips to go to the training camp," Bayonne spokesman Nicolas Bridoux told BBC Wales. "The only thing that we want that he will play versus Toulon - we don't have the date of the game. But he is free to go to Poland for the training camp."
It is yet to be seen, however, whether Perpignan will release James Hook for the camp or if Clermont will allow Lee Byrne to attend.
And following Ben Morgan's declaration of allegiance to England on Wednesday, the Welsh Rugby Union has played down his decision and instead have highlighted their depth in the back-row position. "The back-row is one position where we have a host of strength in depth in Wales with young players like Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton having recently shown their world class qualities at the World Cup," a WRU spokesman told Wales Online. "These are players who have a long future ahead of them alongside established players like Ryan Jones and Andy Powell.
"There are others coming through fast too - Rob McCusker and Josh Turnbull at the Scarlets and Justin Tipuric at the Ospreys, who are all already capped.
"We wish Ben all the best in his ambitions to pursue honours with England, but this decision is particularly timely as we have just announced the full coaching structures for the WRU Age Grade sides at U20s, U18s, U16s and Sevens levels.
"If you look at the youngsters available to us and the likes of Tom Smith at the Ospreys, players who have come through the WRU system and those who are being developed by the regions as we speak, it is easy to see where the future for Welsh rugby lies."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown