Top 14 - Phillips 'set to sue Bayonne over sack for boozing'

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips is to expected to take his former French club side Bayonne to court after he was fired for apparently turning up drunk to training.

Reuters
Top 14 - Phillips 'set to sue Bayonne over sack for boozing'
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Mike Phillips

Phillips was sacked by Bayonne after he arrived in an apparent state of intoxication at a video analysis session on October 11. Two of his team-mates, New Zealand back row Dwayne Haare and fly-half Stephen Brett, were also drunk but received lesser punishments.

The 31-year-old Phillips, who has 77 caps for Wales and five for the Lions, had already angered his club last year when he was suspended for 10 days over a booze-fuelled off-pitch incident following a match against Toulouse.

And that was not his first run-in: ahead of the 2011 World Cup he was temporarily axed from the Wales squad for allegedly getting involved in a late-night scuffle outside a Cardiff takeaway.

That history led Bayonne to axe the star, whose contract was due to run until June 2014 - with Bayonne chairman Alain Afflelou clearly livid at his former player.

"From the moment he let us down, his friends, coaches and fans, it was not possible to keep him," Afflelou told French media.

"I had great respect and affection for the boy, very respectful, and the player. I had already kept him on a year ago, against everyone's advice.

"This summer, I even invited to my house to offer him a contract extension of two years. I trusted him. This is treason."

It seems that the case is not yet over, however, as the Daily Telegraph reports that Phillips has called in his legal representatives to challenge the decision.

"We'll let the lawyers do their work," added Afflelou, who added that he was confident he will not have to pay compensation to the Welshman.

"He is a repeat offender and has been laid off for misconduct… What he did is inexcusable. And it's not the first time." Afflelou said.

Phillips has kept his place in Warren Gatland's squad for the Autumn internationals despite the incident, with Gatland insisting last week that any issue was solely between player and employer.

"It’s a French decision. It’s a Bayonne decision. Those are issues for him to sort out. All I can say is that for the last few campaigns with us he has been great," Gatland said.

"On the Lions tour he conducted himself extremely well on and off the field. I am expecting the same again.

"There is obviously a slight concern that this is not something that is been repeated. There has been other incidents in the past and we will sit down and have a quiet chat to see what he is doing. But there are not going to be any sanctions here."

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