France move may suit Mike Phillips - Derwyn Jones

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

Ex-Wales lock Derwyn Jones believes Mike Phillips could benefit from a move to France as speculation mounts about his future at the Ospreys.

Reports have linked the Wales scrum-half with a move from Liberty Stadium.

Player agent Jones secured James Hook's move to Perpignan for next season, but does not represent Phillips.

"Mike Phillips has got a very good image in France. Every time he's played against France he's done a good job," said Jones.

"He's big, he's aggressive and also Mike Phillips tends to play what's in front of him and I think he'd play with a lot more freedom in France and that could possibly suit his game.

"I think if he went over there with good weather, with good conditions, playing for a team who play with a relative amount of freedom, I think that could really help him.

"Playing in the Magners League or in the UK we play a lot more to structure, we play a sort of a tighter game, possibly a more limited game to some extent with more of a kicking strategy.

"So maybe that doesn't suit Mike as much and I would possibly see that as the reason why he's not currently playing for the Ospreys.

"But if he went to France, it certainly gives him more freedom to express himself so in that respect I think it could be a good move."

Since returning from Six Nations duty, the 2009 British and Irish Lions Test scrum-half in South Africa has been behind Rhys Webb in the Ospreys' pecking order.

They have also signed Samoa scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i from New Zealand Super 15 side Crusaders.

The Ospreys have already seen Gavin Henson leave this season for Toulon while fly-half Hook, full-back Lee Byrne (Clermont Ferrrand) and prop Craig Mitchell (Exeter) have announced they are moving on at the end of the season.

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

Phillips joined the Ospreys from Cardiff Blues in April 2007 for a deal thought to be worth £700,000.

Jones believes the fact that the Ospreys released Byrne from the last year of his contract and seem prepared to let Phillips do likewise is an indication of the change in emphasis there.

"Lee Byrne and Mike Phillips are actually being released to go so unless another Welsh region come in and want these guys then there's obviously something there which has made the Ospreys change want to change their process at the club," said Jones.

"They're changing their personalities, they're changing their recruitment policies so Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne obviously don't fit into that.

"They wanted to keep James Hook, but James felt it was the right thing to do at this time."

Experienced Kiwi back-rowers Jerry Collins and Marty Holah could also leave the Ospreys in the summer.

The Ospreys have signed back-row men Joe Bearman from the Dragons and Samoan George Stowers from London Irish.

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