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Federico Pucciariello
Inpho/Morgan Treacy
Mike Phillips Off To The Ospreys
3 March 2007, 1:37 pm
By Pat Geraghty
Mike Phillips who will operate at scrum-half for Cardiff Blues tomorrow night will leave the Blues at the end of this season and head up the motorway to join up with Neath-Swansea Ospreys.
It is reported in the Western Mail newspaper that Phillips, who came on as a second half replacement for Dwayne Peel in the international against France last weekend, is set to earn more than £180,000-a-year at the Liberty Stadium having agreed a four-year deal with the loads-a-dosh club.

Blues coach Dai Young insists he holds no hard feelings over the impending move and is confidant that Phillips will continue to serve his side well for the rest of this season. "I don't blame Mike, to be quite honest with you," said the former Wales skipper. "We certainly haven't got any hard feelings towards him going there. You've got to understand the player's point of view. It's a short career so they've got to think about what's best for them, not just rugby-wise, but financially as well."

However, Young would not be entirely happy with the idea of a player being poached from one Welsh club by another, "Well, it's not healthy is it?"

In the end it came down to money. "From our point of view, we did as much as we could. We had beaten all the sensible offers from England, but we just couldn't compete with the Ospreys offer." said Young.

"We don't want to lose any players of quality, so it is disappointing but we've got a responsibility to everybody else in the squad.

" A lot of players here have achieved a lot more in the game and that kind of deal would have left them well behind. But, on top of that, we just couldn't afford to pay that kind of money."

Good news for Young is that the Robinsons - Jamie and Nicky - have both signed new deals with the club. Both are in the starting lineup to face Munster with Jamie - who has signed a two-year contract extension - released to return to regional duty along with fellow Wales squad members Phillips, Chris Czekaj, Robert Sidoli, Rhys Thomas and Scott Morgan.

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