Mike Phillips plans court action after Bayonne cancel his contract
MIKE Phillips has told Bayonne he will see them in court after the French club cancelled his contract amid allegations of alcohol-related misbehaviour.
The Wales and Lions scrum-half pronounced himself disappointed and frustrated at the Basque outfit's decision and further complained that he had learned of his dismissal through comments in a French newspaper.
In an interview with Sud Quest, Bayonne's chairman Alain Afflelou had accused Phillips of "treason", called him a "repeat offender" and said he had been laid off for misconduct.
But the West Walian isn't going quietly and has resolved to contest the issue in a French court.
He said: "I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by the decision taken by Aviron Bayonnais Rugby Club to terminate my employment. I was also disappointed by the fact that I officially heard about my dismissal through an interview given in a French newspaper.
"As a result of discussions with my legal team in France I have now instructed them to issue proceedings against Aviron Bayonnais Rugby Club through the French judicial system.
"I will not make any additional comments on this matter and any communication regarding the status of my claims will be made through them.
"I wish to thank my team-mates and the many friends I have made in the Basque country for their help and kindness over the past two seasons.
"I will now wholeheartedly concentrate all my energy and efforts on training with Wales and try to earn a place in the matchday squad to help Wales have a successful autumn campaign against South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Tonga."
Phillips is supposed to have attended a video analysis session while under the influence of alcohol.
Whether he did or not, he once again finds his career shrouded in uncertainty.
But last night, leading players' agent Derwyn Jones insisted the 82-cap former Osprey would have no problem finding fresh employment, because he is "a phenomenal rugby player".
"I don't think Mike will find it difficult to find another club," said Jones.
"There are clubs in England, France and even Japan who will be interested because of what he does on the field.
"He is a phenomenal, world-class rugby player who has proved himself on the international stage over an extended period.
"He is also popular with his team-mates and a character.
"It is fair to say he has a bit of history. But it is also worth pointing out they can be unforgiving in France and there are many who feel that Bayonne, in particular, is not an especially stable rugby club.
"We all learn lessons in life but outstanding players are still worth a lot and Mike fits into that category.
"If I had advice for him, it would be to look closely at the coaching and management set-up of the next club he joins, but, really, he doesn't need me to tell him that. He has been around a long time now and knows the score."
One option for Phillips might surface if the Welsh Rugby Union step in with a central contract and look to place him at a region.