Phillips: France were really poor
October 15, 2011
Mike Phillips scored the only try of the game in Auckland © Getty Images
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has branded France as "really poor" following his side's agonising 9-8 loss to Les Bleus in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final.
The No.9 is set to join Top 14 Orange side Bayonne following the tournament, but he did not hold back in his appraisal of France, who failed to score a try despite Wales being down to 14 men for most of the game after skipper Sam Warburton was sent off.
Morgan Parra landed three penalties to snatch victory, with Phillips' second-half score proving to be too little, too late.
"I thought France were really poor, and I thought it was the wrong decision by the referee to send Sam off," Phillips said. "It was the wrong decision completely. He is a young kid, he is the captain of his country, it is the semi-final of the World Cup.
"He is not a dirty player. He's a big hitter and that is what happens. It was a yellow card and that's it. It was just the wrong decision. Put things in context. It is not fair. It looked much worse than what it was.
"It was early on in the game, it is a massive game, you are flying into each other. You put big hits in and people go up in the air - that's the way it is. France played up on it. It was showmanship, and they did their job. It is just disappointing."
The scrum-half praised Warburton's contribution to their campaign and maintained that certain Welsh players deserved a place in next weekend's Final, where France will face either New Zealand or Australia - teams that Phillips believes will "blow away" Marc Lievremont's side.
"Sam is not a dangerous player," he said. "He has shown the world he is a great flanker and he is a player that deserves to be in a World Cup Final. He is one of the best sevens in the world, and there are boys in our team who deserve to be in the final.
"France were poor and they are going to get blown away in the Final. It is as simple as that. There was a lot against us but we still had the opportunities to have won, right until the end. We worked very hard but it wasn't our day. We had a real chance of reaching the final but it's difficult to say where we lost this match and the game with South Africa.
"We are a very good team and we deserve to be in the Final, without a shadow of a doubt. We tried so hard to get to the Final, and the French didn't do anything constructive on the pitch. All they did was look for penalties."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler