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Bayonne sack Mike Phillips after drunken cameo at training - Report

The Wales and Lions scrumhalf is expected to receive written confirmation of his dismissal on Monday morning.

Cold shoulder: Mike Phillips prepares for a cryotherapy session while on Lions duty in May of this year.
Cold shoulder: Mike Phillips prepares for a cryotherapy session while on Lions duty in May of this year.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

WELSH INTERNATIONAL SCRUMHALF Mike Phillips has been sacked by French club Bayonne after being accused of turning up drunk at a training session, a source at the club told AFP.

Phillips, 31, and capped 77 times by his country, met club officials on Saturday where he was told that he was to be sacked.

He will be receive the official confirmation by letter on Monday, the source told AFP, confirming a report on the Sud Ouest website.

Phillips joined Bayonne from Ospreys in 2011 and was under contract until June 2014. He could head back to Wales this evening to join up with his national squad ahead of the November internationals, said the source. Bayonne were unable to confirm Phillips’ impending departure.

Phillips was sidelined from the Bayonne squad after he was accused, along with New Zealand duo, backrow forward Dwayne Haare and fly-half Stephen Brett, of arriving drunk for a video analysis session on 11 October.

Phillips was dropped for Friday’s 24 — 19 win over Montpellier but Haare was named on the bench while Brett played from the start and enjoyed a key role in his team’s second try. According to a club source, both Kiwi imports will receive heavy fines.

Phillips had been in trouble with the Bayonne authorities in September 2012 when he was banned for 10 days and fined following another alcohol-fuelled episode. He played 39 matches in the Top 14.

On Friday, Phillips’ teammate Martin Bustos Moyano, who contributed 19 points in the win over Montpellier, said it had been a tough week for the club. He commented:

It has been a difficult week with a lot of talk outside the club, but we stayed tight. We were thinking of Phillips all week. The team is right behind him and I hope he returns next week.”

Shane Williams, a former teammate of Phillips with Ospreys and Wales, came to the scrumhalf’s defence this weekend. The recently retired winger speculated that Bayonne were seeking to deflect negative press attention onto their star import.

He tweeted, “Is Phillips a scapegoat for Bayonne? Sacking him will free up a lot of Euros and ease the pressure of having to lose him during international duties? It also takes the pressure off the team for their poor league position.

“Mike’s commitment to the club cannot be questioned, having played over 70 games in two and a half seasons in great form and also seeing off three coaches in the meantime.”

© AFP, 2013

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