Gatland names three uncapped players in Wales squad
Coach includes scrumhalf Mike Phillips but will ‘have a quiet chat’ with Bayonne player
Ospreys’ Eli Walker is one of three uncapped players in the Wales squad for the autumn international matches. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Wales boss Warren Gatland has named three uncapped players in a 35-man squad for next month’s Tests against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia.
Racing Metro centre Roberts is recovering from an ankle injury, while Blues wing Cuthbert suffered an ankle problem during last weekend’s Heineken Cup victory over European champions Toulon. Props Rhys Gill and Craig Mitchell were also unavailable due to injuries.
Perpignan back James Hook, who last started for Wales against another Test-playing country two years ago, has made the squad, which is based largely on last season’s Six Nations title-winning group.
There is also a place for scrumhalf Mike Phillips, who faced a meeting with Bayonne directors on Tuesday after he allegedly attended a video analysis session at the French club earlier this month while under the influence of alcohol.
Phillips, who has won 77 caps, could find himself facing a club suspension and be hit with a substantial fine.
Phillips, who was dropped for last Thursday’s Amlin Challenge Cup defeat by Wasps, has a checkered disciplinary record.
He was fined and suspended for 10 days by relegation-threatened Bayonne for an off-field incident last year, and was banned by Wales in 2011 following a confrontation with a doorman in Cardiff.
Asked about Phillips’s situation, Gatland added: “All I can say over the last campaigns with us he has been great. He conducted himself extremely well with the Lions in Australia, both on and off the field.
“I am expecting that same sort of attitude from him when he is involved in this (autumn) campaign.
“Obviously, there are slight concerns about making sure this is something that does not continue to be repeated.
“We will just sit down and have a quiet chat about where his head’s at and what he’s doing, but there will be no sanctions for him here in this set-up.”
There are 13 members of this summer’s Lions tour squad in Australia that was coached by Gatland included.