Robert Jones says Mike Phillips could leave Ospreys

Mike Phillips
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has won 51 international caps

Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones believes Mike Phillips could leave the Ospreys at the end of the season.

Phillips, whom the Ospreys failed to select in Edinburgh last week, could follow a clutch of other internationals out of the Liberty Stadium.

The Ospreys bolstered their squad by signing Samoa scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i from Crusaders.

"There has got to be a question mark over Mike Phillips' future," said Jones.

"Obviously with them bringing in a new scrum-half from Canterbury Crusaders and no doubt having paid pretty good money to get him across I'd imagine they'd want him to play.

"He [Phillips] is a talented individual, but whether he fits into the future down at the Ospreys is a big question mark at the moment.

"He, no doubt, will be of interest to a lot of clubs out there, but being under contract there obviously is a price to pay should… he want to go.

"But it might be on the basis of what has happened over the last couple of weeks [that it could be] something the Ospreys would consider."

Phillips could add to an exodus which has already seen James Hook, Gavin Henson, Lee Byrne and Craig Mitchell leave or about to leave the region.

And during the Six Nations the Ospreys gave their younger players, such as scrum-half Rhys Webb, centre Ashley Beck and flanker Justin Tipuric, a run in the side.

That proved a successful exercise as the region won seven matches on the trot.

Jones believes that the run of success might have opened the region's eyes to giving younger players more opportunities.

"Rhys Webb is a young lad who has come through very strongly and certainly looks a player for the future down at the Ospreys or even within the Welsh set-up," added Jones.

"The Ospreys want strength in depth but to have two players of such quality [Philips and Fotuali'i] and costing them an awful lot might mean they might look to offload Mike or Mike himself might look to move away.

"The Ospreys over the last couple of months have begun to realise they are producing a lot of young talent and that young talent is playing well when it's given the opportunity.

"I think in their eyes, and probably in a lot of people's eyes, that might be the way forward."

Phillips, who won his 50th international cap in Wales' Six Nations defeat in France, is contracted to the Ospreys until 2014 after signing a new big-money deal in March 2010.

Phillips, who joined the Ospreys from Cardiff Blues in April 2007 for a deal thought to be worth £700,000, has developed into the Wales and Lions scrum-half and will be a wanted man should the Ospreys let him leave.

Big-money French clubs have already signed Hook and Byrne from the Ospreys and Top 14 giants would be favourite to sign him should Phillips depart the Welsh region.

Experienced back-rowers Jerry Collins and Marty Holah are also set to leave the Liberty Stadium when their contracts expire in the summer.

The Ospreys have signed Joe Bearman from the Dragons and Samoan George Stowers from London Irish so they have plenty of back-row cover.

Ospreys coach Sean Holley has hinted that Collins and Holah will not be Ospreys players next season.

"There are some intelligent people out there who will work it out," Holley told BBC Sport.

"Some overseas players have been real stalwarts for us, they are coming to the end of their career and maybe looking to make different decisions.

"We need to push on, freshen up and bring the youngsters through."

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