Wales: Never write off Mike Phillips says Gareth Edwards

Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips made his Wales debut against Romania in 2003

Former Wales captain Gareth Edwards believes scrum-half Mike Phillips will have a part to play in the World Cup despite losing his starting place.

Phillips, 32, was ousted in 2014-15 as Wales' first choice number nine by ex-Ospreys team-mate Rhys Webb.

Both players have been included in Wales' 47-man training squad preparing for this autumn's World Cup, which starts in September.

"Never write off Mike Phillips," Edwards said.

"He's been a great servant for Wales over the years and he can play on for as long as he wants to play."

When asked if Phillips had a part to play in the upcoming World Cup, Edwards who played 53 times for Wales, said: "I'm sure he will."

Webb has established himself as Wales' first-choice scrum-half, starting in all five of their 2015 Six Nations matches and scoring three tries.

The 26-year-old was also voted Pro12 player of the season during a campaign in which he scored 12 tries for Ospreys.

Edwards believes Webb fully deserves to be first choice scrum-half, but said he faced competition from other players for the coveted number nine shirt.

Racing 92's Phillips, Gareth Davies of the Scarlets and Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams are also in Wales' training squad, which will be cut to 31 in August.

Rhys Webb
Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb started all five of Wales' 2015 Six Nations games

"Rhys Webb has really come to the fore and deserves to be the number one," Edwards added.

"But what's good is there are a couple of very good scrum-halves in the shadows so he can't rest on his laurels.

"That's good for Wales and good for him but he's on top form."

Wales prepare for the tournament with training camps in the heat of Qatar and high altitude in Switzerland.

They will also return to Poland, where they twice held camps under Gatland before the 2011 tournament, and train in north Wales.

Wales will face hosts England, Australia and Fiji in Group A after an opening game against Uruguay on 20 September in Cardiff.

Edwards, who toured three times with the British and Irish Lions, says Warren Gatland's men can do well in the tournament if they get out of the group.

"What Wales have become is a very difficult side to beat and I think they will do very, very well," Edwards said.

"They always seem to do well when they can spend time together and they are away in Switzerland at the moment and going to Qatar.

"But we all know the immediate conundrum for them is to get out of the pool."