Crusaders make a move to sign Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips
Phillips has also attracted interest from French rugby union club Bayonne

Crusaders have approached Wales rugby union scrum-half Mike Phillips over a possible move to the Super League side.

Out-of-favour Phillips, 28, is looking for a new club after being told he can leave the Ospreys.

"If he is interested in switching codes, we would be foolish not to pitch in and try to get him to play here," said Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris.

Crusaders say they have been encouraged by the impact of Gareth Thomas's switch from union to league.

"After the success of Gareth's conversion we feel that more players should be encouraged to follow in his footsteps," said a Crusaders spokesman.

"We are looking to build something special up here in north Wales both as a successful team on the field and to create a strong business model and a club that the fans can be proud of."

Phillips has been out of favour at the Ospreys since Wales' Six Nations campaign, falling behind Rhys Webb in the pecking order.

BBC Wales Sport understands French club Bayonne are interested in signing the 2009 British and Irish Lion, who will win his 52nd cap for Wales on Saturday against the Barbarians.

He is contracted to the Ospreys until the end of the 2011/12 season, so the Swansea-based region could demand a transfer fee from any potential suitor.

Crusaders distanced themselves from Phillips in May, but the struggling Super League club have now confirmed their interest, although stressing that no official bid has been made.

Former Wales captain Thomas switched codes to join Crusaders in March 2010 on an 18-month deal, making 13 appearances in his first season.

He led Wales to victory in the European Cup against France in October 2010, but the 36-year-old is expected to retire from top-flight rugby at the end of this season.

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