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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 19 April, 2014

Mike Phillips joining Jonny Sexton at Racing Métro

The Welsh scrum-half will be linking up with his Lions teammate in Paris for the rest of the season.

Phillips in action for the Lions against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
Phillips in action for the Lions against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Updated 14.55

MIKE PHILLIPS will sign for Top 14 side Racing Métro, the club’s president Jacky Lorenzetti confirmed this afternoon.

The Welshman is expected to begin training with the Parisian club this week, having penned a two-and-a-half year deal. Phillips was sacked by former club Bayonne in October after turning up drunk for a squad video session.

This move means the 31-year-old links up with Ireland out-half Jonny Sexton in the French capital, rekindling a playing relationship which began with the Lions in Australia during the summer. Racing also have France international Maxime Machenaud on the books, so Phillips may not be an automatic starter.

However, some reports suggest that the Welshman will be involved in the Top 14 side’s Heineken Cup clash with Harlequins in Nantes on Saturday. Phillips played in the Amlin Challenge Cup for Bayonne this season, meaning he is still eligible to feature in Europe’s premier club tournament.

It is understood that Racing president Jacky Lorenzetti and coaches Laurent Travers and Laurent Labit are unhappy with the form of back-up scrum-halves Sébastien Descons, Juan Snyman and Laurent Magnaval this season, making the arrival of the controversial Welsh star understandable.

Rumours of Phillips’ move to Racing first surfaced early last week, although a statement from the club on Wednesday swiftly denied that they had signed the Lions number nine. The same document underlined Lorenzetti’s “excellent relationship” with Bayonne owner Alain Afflelou, but the Racing chief has now been given his friend’s blessing to bring Phillips to Paris.

Racing will be concerned that their new scrum-half may be facing a suspension in coming weeks, after footage emerged yesterday of Phillips stamping on the hand of Quade Cooper in Wales’ defeat to Australia on Saturday.

Still, the likes of Sexton, Jamie Roberts and Juandre Kruger will surely welcome Racing’s decision to bring in a scrum-half who can be world-class on his day.

- Originally posted 10.55

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