STUART DAVIES COLUMN: Can the Ospreys offer a return home for Mike Phillips?
THIS time last week Mike Phillips was in the South of France, one of the star names of a cosmopolitan Bayonne squad.
Today, the Wales and British Lions scrum-half is looking for a new club.
It all happened very quickly for Phillips in France.
And it didn't take long for the media to be aware that the 'letter was in the post' and that his days in the Basque country were numbered.
With Phillips revealing that he is to take legal action following his dismissal, we will have to wait for the full story.
The allegation is that he turned up for a video analysis session the day after an Amlin Challenge Cup win over Grenoble under the influence of alcohol.
In my view, turning up the morning after a game with a headache and the smell of beer on your breath doesn't seem as bad as if he had done it before a team run ahead of a big game, but as I said, we don't know the full story.
Mike is old school, he is a character and a likeable one at that, a big personality.
So the question on everyone's lips now is where next for him?
As far as the short term is concerned, there's no problem at all.
His focus is on Wales for the autumn and the fact he hasn't got a club won't affect his Six Nations prospects either.
I have said this on a number of occasions, I don't believe club or regional form is a factor when it comes to Warren Gatland's Wales selection.
The Welsh team is almost like a fifth region with the amount of games they play and Gatland won't be concerned if Phillips has 'unattached' next to his name on the team sheet.
The reality is, Mike Phillips is way ahead of his scrum-half rivals — ask anyone to pick a Wales side and they are going to put Phillips in that No. 9 jersey.
I suppose the knee-jerk reaction, in the words of that Les Mis number is 'Bring him Home'.
And the first thing that struck me is that the Ospreys need him.
The way they play, Phillips would be an ideal man behind that Liberty pack.
Yes, they have an emerging talent in Tom Habberfield, but he would learn a huge amount from Phillips's presence, while Tito Tebaldi, for all he offers, is not in the same class as the Lion.
The question is, would the Ospreys get value for money from Phillips?
Europe is over now, so it's all about the Pro12 for Steve Tandy's side. And with Phillips heavily involved with Wales, they wouldn't see much of him through the autumn and Six Nations period.
Then, there is the issue of Phillips's significant wage, which I doubt the Ospreys would be keen on paying if he was only going to have limited game-time.
However, if the Welsh Rugby Union agreed to pay his salary and then place him at a region — as has been suggested — then that would put a different slant on things altogether.
As for his history with the Ospreys; yes, it didn't end that amicably when Phillips left the region for France two years ago, but you would hope that would be seen as water under the bridge.
The Dragons have also been mentioned, but I don't know how attractive that would be to him and much could depend on Phillips's relationship with his former Ospreys coach Lyn Jones.
It goes without saying, Phillips does have a reputation in terms of his off-field behaviour, but if I can draw parallels with football here, 'bad boy' Joey Barton seems to be able to find a club, regardless of what he says or does.
There is always a manager who thinks they can put Barton on the straight and narrow and I am in no doubt that at the age of 31, Phillips will have no problem finding another employer.
He is going to be around for a while yet, at club and international level.