Friday 23 March 2018

Bust-up with Welsh star Phillips 'water under bridge'

David Kelly

David Kelly

Fiery Welsh scrum-half Mike Phillips has played down talk of a feud between himself and Irish out-half Ronan O'Gara ahead of tomorrow's crunch Six Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.

Phillips was seething after O'Gara twice refused to shake his hand following the Ospreys' bad-tempered Heineken Cup win against Munster last year, but the former Lions colleagues have since resolved their differences.

"We're all right now," revealed the scrum-half, set to win his 50th cap tomorrow. "He doesn't like losing -- like myself. But it's water under the bridge. I rang him the day after. It was fine. He'd calmed down and so had I. It's not an issue.

"There isn't any needle between the sides, not really. We got to know the Irish players on the Lions tour and they were a good bunch of boys. Paul O'Connell was a great leader, while I got to know O'Gara quite well. They're top rugby players."

Meanwhile, the Irish squad have been instructed not to tweet this weekend after becoming embroiled in a series of childish spats with the general public following the narrow win against Scotland a fortnight ago.

"The squad has agreed not to tweet around match time," confirmed Irish team manager Paul McNaughton yesterday.

"We haven't banned tweeting generally, but around match time the squad have agreed to extend the period of time when there will be no tweeting.

"We don't see it as a big issue, but there was a lot made of some of the correspondence between some of the players and some of their followers.

"We are developing the policy anyway because it will have to be a fairly rigid one in terms of the World Cup -- not so much in what they say to fans, but in terms of commercial arrangements."

Ireland have also insisted that they will request that the roof remain open for tomorrow's match, despite Welsh coach Warren Gatland's insistence that he would prefer it to be closed.

Both sides must agree on the issue, or else the roof will remain open. "Rugby is an outdoor sport," insisted McNaughton.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport