Six Nations: Wales' Warren Gatland tells dropped Mike Phillips 'to reflect' on Ireland game
Last Updated: 19/02/14 3:37pm
Mike Phillips: "Confrontational" performance against Ireland went down badly
Mike Phillips has been told to "reflect on his performance" against Ireland from the bench when Wales play France on Friday night.
The Racing Metro star's status as first-choice scrum-half for Wales and the Lions has not spared him the axe for this week's Six Nations game at the Millennium Stadium.
Warren Gatland has instead given Ospreys No 9 Rhys Webb a first international start as Phillips counts the cost of Wales' poor display during a 26-3 defeat in Dublin a fortnight ago.
And Gatland was in no mood to soften the blow when asked about his reasons for demoting 82-cap Phillips to the replacements against the country he now calls home.
"We just felt the team needed a change," he said. "We weren't happy with Mike's performance against Ireland, and we just felt it was an opportunity for Rhys.
"He probably just got a little bit confrontational one-on-one with (Ireland scrum-half) Conor Murray. He was yellow carded as well towards the end of the game.
"It is probably an opportunity for him to reflect on his performance, which is why we have put him on the bench and given Rhys a chance.
"It is important we give someone else an opportunity in that position to stake a claim, and also give us some depth in that role as well. He (Phillips) always responds well to a challenge."