Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has highlighted the form of scrum-half Mike Phillips as crucial to their Six Nations campaign.
Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has highlighted the form of scrum-half Mike Phillips as crucial to the defending champions' Six Nations campaign.
Phillips struggled for consistency during the November Tests and Howley admits that the Bayonne number nine needs to recapture top form if Wales hope to defend their crown.
“Mike is back playing to some level – he needs to get to the next level, to where he was,” said former Wales scrum-half Howley after naming his squad.
“He has gone away to France, and I have tried to give him some stats in terms of the brand and type of rugby they are playing.
“When he plays for us, he makes 60 or 70 passes a game. In France, it's 20-25, so that puts pressure on his conditioning. Mike has been told.
“On his day, when he is fit and confident, Mike is probably one of the best number nines in the northern hemisphere. We need to get Mike back to his best.
“He has got pressure (in the Wales squad) with Tavis Knoyle and Lloyd Williams, but you would like to think, if Mike is back to his best, he's got a huge part to play in our performances in the Six Nations.”