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Club Rugby

Mike Phillips set to leave Ospreys

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips will be allowed to leave the Ospreys at the end of this season.

Ospreys coaching chief Scott Johnson has confirmed the 51 times-capped Phillips will depart the Liberty Stadium once he has found another club.

Phillips' Ospreys and Wales colleagues James Hook and Lee Byrne are both heading to France next season, with Hook joining Heineken Cup semi-finalists Perpignan and Byrne signing for Clermont Auvergne.

Phillips, 28, will exit the Ospreys despite being under contract with them until 2014.

And France could also be his destination, with reigning European champions Toulouse believed to be interested in signing the 2009 British and Irish Lions Test number nine.

Phillips joined the Ospreys from Cardiff Blues in 2007, and he is likely to court interest from Aviva Premiership clubs, in addition to the French Top 14 big-spenders.

Johnson said: "After continued requests from Mike over the last 12 months, we've agreed to let Mike go as soon as he can find another club.

"We have an organisation to run, and anybody who doesn't want to be here, we will move on."

The Ospreys recently announced they had signed Samoan international scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i, who has been playing Super Rugby in New Zealand with Canterbury Crusaders.

But Phillips will follow Hook, Byrne, Wales prop Craig Mitchell - who has signed for Premiership club Exeter next term - and Gavin Henson, now a Toulon player following a brief stint at Saracens.

Phillips was at the peak of his powers during the Lions tour two years ago, starting all three Tests against world champions South Africa and returning home as arguably the world's finest scrum-half.

He has struggled to maintain such excellence, though, and experienced a mixed RBS 6 Nations campaign this term, but he remains Wales coach Warren Gatland's first-choice number nine less than five months away from the World Cup starting in New Zealand.