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Gatland backs the club-less Phillips for Wales

Wales coach Warren Gatland has faith that scrumhalf Mike Phillips will be in great form for the autumn rugby tests after he was dumped by his French club.

Phillips comfirmed on Monday his contract was terminated by Bayonne, which was yet to officially announce he was dismissed for allegedly turning up intoxicated to a video analysis session on Oct. 11. "He's got a couple of issues that he needs to address and sort out, but he's not the only one in sport that has things that need to be addressed, and we will continue to support him as much as we can," Gatland told BBC Radio Wales.

"He is professional enough to come in and want to prove what a good player he is, what a competitor he is, how important he is to the Welsh team. It will be interesting to see how he'll perform in the next month ... I am sure he will play exceptionally well.

"There's been issues in the past ... and I think he is working hard to try and address some of those things, and I am confident that he will be great for us in this campaign." Wales begins against South Africa at Millennium Stadium on Nov. 9, followed on successive weekends by Argentina, Tonga and Australia.

Phillips, a two-time British Lion, said in a statement he was "disappointed and frustrated" by Bayonne's decision and was considering legal action against the Top 14 club. He had a hearing last Tuesday, and missed a game last Friday.

Bayonne chairman Alain Afflelou told French media he had great affection for Phillips, and went against advice to keep him last year when the player was fined and suspended for 10 days for an off-field issue. In letting down him, the club and its fans, Afflelou described Phillips as "a serial offender" and his behaviour as "treason."

"I will now wholeheartedly concentrate all my energy and efforts on training with Wales," Phillips said, "and try to earn a place in the matchday squad to help Wales have a successful autumn campaign."

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