Wales lift ban & recall Mike Phillips to WC squad

Wales have lifted Mike Phillips’ ban after a late night incident and recalled him into their preliminary Rugby World Cup squad.

Twenty-nine-year-old Phillips has apologised to his team-mates and Wales management.

The 2009 British and Irish Lions scrum-half recently joined French Top 14 side Bayonne but is now back in contention for a place at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Phillips, who was not arrested and is not facing any criminal action in relation to the incident, said: “This is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me in my career.

“I am ashamed to have let myself get into this kind of situation and I am determined to put things right,” added Phillips, who recently signed for French club Bayonne.

“As a player I’m really passionate and never back down. I know I can’t allow that part of my character to come to the surface off the rugby pitch,” explained Phillips, capped 52 times Wales since making his debut in 2003

“I have realised I have an issue with the way in which I deal with, and have dealt with, the pressures of my current environment and have sought, and will continue to seek, help and advice in relation to that issue.

“I have formally and sincerely apologised to my team-mates and the coaching staff in the Welsh squad and would like to take this opportunity to do exactly the same to the Welsh rugby public and anyone else who has been offended by this or other episodes.

“I am a proud Welshman and I remain determined to devote myself to being the best rugby player I can possibly be to gain success for Wales in the World Cup and future tournaments.”

Wales coach Warren Gatland welcomed Phillips back by saying: “Mike clearly breached the disciplinary code of conduct we have in place and was dealt with decisively and properly.

“We have taken into account all the relevant issues and Mike’s apology in taking the decision to reinstate him in the extended RWC (Rugby World Cup) squad.

“An important factor in allowing Mike back into the squad was his decision to actively seek help to resolve his behavioural issues,” the New Zealand added.

Meanwhile WRU chief executive Roger Lewis defended the original ban handed to Phillips.

“It was very important for us to make it absolutely clear that Welsh rugby will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour,” he said.

“The message is now abundantly clear that we represent certain standards which will be maintained at all times both on and off the field of play. The Welsh rugby public expect it and deserve it.”

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