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Wales 14:30 Australia

Wales need scrum-half Mike Phillips back to his best

Last Updated: 16/01/13 8:31am

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Mike Phillips: Struggled for consistency in the autumn Tests

Mike Phillips: Struggled for consistency in the autumn Tests

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Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has claimed the pressure is on Mike Phillips to recapture his top form.

The Bayonne No 9, who has been capped 72 times, had struggled for consistency during the autumn Tests.

And Howley believes it is vital for Wales that they get Phillips back to his best for the RBS Six Nations, which kicks off against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2.

"Mike is back playing to some level - he needs to get to the next level, to where he was," Howley said.

"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."

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