Mike Phillips retains World Cup hope despite Wales drop

Mike Phillips in action for Wales against Ireland
Mike Phillips made his 94th appearance for Wales in the World Cup warm-up match against Ireland

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips says he has no intention of retiring from international rugby and has not given up hope of playing at the World Cup.

Phillips, capped 94 times, has been dropped from Wales' training squad.

The 32-year-old said he was "annoyed" by the decision but stressed he would play under coach Warren Gatland again.

"I'll always have that ambition to play rugby for Wales and if they come knocking you're always going to go and represent your country," he said.

"The dream lives on, as they say. Who knows what can happen?"

Having been a mainstay since Gatland's appointment in 2007, Phillips has lost his number one status with Wales over the last two years with the emergence of Rhys Webb.

Gareth Davies and Rhys Webb in training for Wales
Gareth Davies (left) was on the bench when Rhys Webb (right) started for Wales against Italy in the 2015 Six Nations

He was given a chance to prove himself in the first of three warm-up games against Ireland earlier this month.

But an unconvincing performance in the 31-21 defeat cost him his place, as Webb, Gareth Davies and Lloyd Williams were retained as the three scrum-halves in a training squad of 38 players.

Phillips, who has also won five caps for the British and Irish Lions, said he knew his time was coming to an end on the international stage and revealed there had been few words from Gatland to explain his omission.

"There's not been much chat really," said Phillips, who made his debut in 2003. "I just respect the decision. Over the last year maybe I've fallen out of favour anyway.

"Things happen and I respect them all, they're great people.

Media playback is not supported on this device

I'm not very confident - Mike Phillips

"There was frustration and I was annoyed, but you then realise that life goes on and I'd been there for a long time.

"I worked hard and knew it hadn't been the best season for me in an international shirt.

"I knew things were coming to the end so I just worked hard and thought if I make it, I do and if I don't, I don't. It's not the end of the world and I've got to be positive and look forward."

Phillips said his focus now is to perform well for his club side Racing 92, with the French season set to start on Friday.

And given the physical nature of the sport, Phillips said he would be ready to answer Gatland's call in an injury-related emergency.

"I don't see why not. He knows me better than anyone and has been great to me over my career," said Wales' most-capped scrum-half.

"Things happen in sport and there's a long way to go before the World Cup starts. I've got to keep myself really fit and hopefully I'll get a good start to the season with Racing and who knows what can happen?"

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Twickenham Stadium

Top Stories