Mike Phillips takes legal action after he is sacked by Bayonne
Welsh scrum half dismissed by French club after allegations he turned up drunk for training
WALES scrum-half Mike Phillips has said he will take legal action against Bayonne after the French club terminated his contract on Monday. It's alleged that the 31-year-old Phillips, a member of the British and Irish Lions squad that defeated Australia in the summer, arrived drunk to a club training session on 11 October.
The following week Phillips appeared before the Bayonne board to answer for his behaviour, along with two fellow players, New Zealand flanker Dwayne Haare and fly-half Stephen Brett, also accused of turning up intoxicated. They were both fined but Phillips has been sacked with club president Alain Afflelou telling a French newspaper on Monday: "It was him or me... from the moment he let us down, his friends, coaches and fans, it was not possible to keep him."
Afflelou, a multi-millionaire who made his fortune through eyewear, called Phillips' actions "inexcusable" and said he felt betrayed by the player because he had recently offered him a contract extension "against everyone's advice".
In September 2012 Bayonne suspended the Welshman for ten days for "several late-night incidents", and at the time Afflelou declared: "This is not the first time and we've all had enough of it. It's shameful."
Phillips' has courted controversy ever since establishing himself as Wales' regular scrum-half in 2008. That same year he was hospitalised after an incident outside a nightclub in Cardiff City centre and in the summer of 2011, just before his move to Bayonne, he was suspended from the Wales squad after being filmed fighting with a bouncer outside a Cardiff branch of McDonalds.
Phillips is now back in Wales with the national squad preparing for a Test match against South Africa on Saturday week, but in a statement released on Monday night he vowed to fight his dismissal. "I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by the decision taken by Aviron Bayonnais Rugby Club to terminate my employment," ran the statement. "I was also disappointed by the fact that I officially heard about my dismissal through an interview given in a French newspaper this morning. 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."
Afflelou appears primed for a fight. Asked on Monday if he expected Phillips would win any legal battle for compensation, he replied: "We'll let the lawyers do their work but, at this moment, I do not think so. He is a repeat offender and has been laid off for misconduct." ·