Cape Town - Current Sale Sharks scrumhalf Mike Phillips has announced he plans to retire at the end of the European season.
Phillips revealed the news on his Twitter account on Tuesday, bringing to an end a long career in which he played for the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Bayonne, Racing 92, Sale, as well as Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
"I would like to announce my retirement as a professional rugby player at the end of this season with @SaleSharksRugby," Phillips wrote.
"Thanks to the fans, team-mates, clubs, coaches, @WelshRugbyUnion the @lionsofficial , friends & family who have supported me over the years.
"I will attack the next chapters with the same passion, commitment and laughter as I did during my entire career. See you soon!"
Phillips retires on 99 Test caps, 94 of which came for Wales and five for the Lions, scoring 10 tries.
Phillips’ departure from Sale could see the English club step up their reported bid to sign Lions and Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk.
The Rapport newspaper suggested over the weekend that Sale were busy negotiating to sign the Springbok in a deal that could make him one of the highest paid players in the English Premiership.
According to the Afrikaans weekly, the scrumhalf has been offered a three-year contract, worth R21m, with talks between Sale, the player's representatives and the Lions said to have been prompted by De Klerk’s omission from the latest Springbok training camp.
The Lions insist De Klerk will remain on their books until the end of the 2018 season, but the chances of Sale compensating the Lions for an early release of the player is not out the reckoning.