Jenkins hands stark 'warning' to Phillips
July 19, 2009
Mike Phillips has been warned by Wales coach Neil Jenkins over his future conduct © Getty Images
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has been warned his international future is in jeopardy following his recent arrest for an altercation with a taxi driver.
Phillips, who recently started all three Tests for the British & Irish Lions in South Africa, was arrested and spent a night in cells following the incident in Penarth, just outside Cardiff.
Now, Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins has offered a frank assessment of the incident in a newspaper column and suggested that Phillips is in the last-chance saloon with Wales boss Warren Gatland. The Ospreys scrum-half was also involved in an incident in October 2008 when he was assaulted late at night in Cardiff.
"Mike Phillips is treading a fine line if he wants to hold onto his Wales jersey," said Jenkins in his column for The News of the World. "Losing your place in a team through form or injury is one thing... but having it taken away as punishment is another.
"Mike is probably the best scrum-half in the world, given the way he went toe-to-toe with the Springboks, but he's not doing himself any favours by getting on the wrong side of the law. We will have to wait and see what happens after the 'incident' in Penarth, but getting arrested is hardly likely to make him Gatland's favourite player."
Jenkins faced similar allegations during his playing career, when he was forced to attend court to answer public disorder charges after a fight in a Swansea bar following his starring role on the 1997 Lions tour.
"That's hard in a goldfish bowl like Wales and it was a painful lesson I learned myself," said Jenkins. "When you're out having a few drinks you have to be whiter than white because there's always one idiot who wants to have a pop at a big name and get a bit of attention for himself.
"Players are only human and few people understand the pressure these people are under, especially after such an intense seven weeks on a Lions tour. You can't shut yourself off and everyone needs to let off steam. He's a great player, but he has to take responsibility for his actions."
Gatland will be faced with a hard choice should Phillips find himself in the headlines again, having already lost senior players Martyn Williams, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones to shoulder injuries that will rule them out of November Tests against New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina and Australia.