Rauluni picks Phillips over Peel

Fiji captain and scrum-half Mosese Rauluni revealed his side would find Michael Phillips “more threatening” than Dwayne Peel in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup eliminator against Wales.

At stake on Saturday is a World Cup quarter-final against South Africa in Marseille and the debate has been raging back in Wales as to who should start at scrum-half.

Peel appears set to regain the scrum-half jersey for the winner-takes-all clash in Nantes despite Phillips’ man-of-the-match performance in Wales’ victory over Japan on Thursday.

But Rauluni admitted he would find the 1m 94 Phillips a far tougher opponent.

“I actually think Mike Phillips is more threatening,” said Rauluni.

“He takes it to the line, he is so big and so strong he really puts pressure on defences.

“The game he played against Japan was one of the best I have seen from a scrum-half. He was chipping and chasing and doing a lot of things. He played well.

“Peel is an experienced scrum-half. It is going to be a tough decision but if they want to go for a man who is going to threaten the line then Phillips is the man.”

Phillips also has the support of former Wales scrum-halves Terry Holmes – a player to whom he is often compared – and Andy Moore.

After a slow start against Japan in what was essentially his first game of the season, Phillips dominated proceedings and enjoyed a purple patch after half-time, scoring one try and brilliantly creating another.

But Wales coach Gareth Jenkins is set to stick by Peel when he names his team on Tuesday because the Llanelli Scarlets man “ticks all the boxes”.

However, Rauluni’s chief concern this week is not the Wales’ scrum-half debate but Fiji’s poor set-piece performance against Australia.

Fiji lost 50 per cent of their own line-out ball on Sunday, were penalised three times for taking too long to throw the ball in and were shunted back on their own scrum.

“Against Australia we lost our ball at the set piece, got pushed off our scrum. It is a big thing to lose,” said Rauluni.

“It was very frustrating, very disappointing and it just adds to the pressure.

“Hopefully we will put it right for Wales because they played well against Japan.”

 

365 Digital

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