Wales rugby team rocked by Phillips retirement, Warburton injury
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 1, 2015
Wales scrum half Mike Phillips today announced his retirement from international rugby, while the extent of skipper Sam Warburton’s ankle injury has been revealed.
Representing his country in 94 Tests, 33-year-old Phillips was selected for three Rugby World Cups, though Warren Gatland dropped him from his roster for this year’s edition only to hand him a recall when Rhys Webb withdrew injured, but he didn’t play.
Kiwi coach Gatland made most-capped Dragons scrum half Phillips a regular from the 2008 Six Nations upon his appointment at the end of the previous year, but then dropped him after poor performances in the 2014 Autumn internationals.
“Always a dream to play for Wales”
Racing Metro player Phillips, who won back-to-back Six Nations championships in 2012 and 2013, and also figured in two British and Irish Lions tours, earning five caps, said: “It was always a dream of mine to play for Wales, it meant everything to me and it’s an amazing feeling to represent your country. For me it was a privilege.
“Playing for Wales has been such a huge part of my adult life and this is a chance for me to say thank you to everyone from family and friends, the coaches and management of the Welsh Rugby Union, all of the great players that I have been fortunate enough to play with and against and of course the fantastic Welsh fans for their great support.
Warburton should be fine for Six Nations
Flanker Warburton, meanwhile, will miss up to six weeks of actions for club side Cardiff Blues, but it is understood his injury will not impact upon Wales’ 2016 Six Nations campaign.
Warburton ironically picked up his ankle problem when tackled by Ospreys counterpart Justin Tipuric, with the two competing for a spot in Gatland’s national XV.
Wales, who are Coral’s 11/4 second-favourites behind England to win the Six Nations, have regularly included both captain Warburton and understudy Tipuric on their rosters in recent times.