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Page last updated at 07:20 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

Wales prop Craig Mitchell to join Ospreys' exodus

Craig Mitchell
Ospreys' Craig Mitchell made his Wales debut on tour in 2009

Wales prop Craig Mitchell is poised to sign for an English Aviva Premiership side, with Exeter tipped as his likely destination, Scrum V understands.

Mitchell faces Scotland on Saturday in the Six Nations as a stand-in for injured tight-head Adam Jones.

He is also Jones' back-up at the Ospreys who have seen Gavin Henson, James Hook and Lee Byrne either leave or announce they are to do so.

The 24-year-old Mitchell is set to quit the Ospreys at the end of the season.

He has made 35 appearances for the region, 15 of them this term after two appearances from the bench in the 2005-06 season from Neath.

Mitchell first came to the Welsh public's attention when plucked from being a Neath regular in the Principality Premiership to be a member of the national squad's 2009 tour to north America, while Jones was on British and Irish Lions duty in South Africa.

But Mitchell made steady progress through Welsh rugby's international age-grade sides before making appearances from the bench on that north America tour against Canada and the United States. Mitchell has since taken his Test tally to five.

His move to England, which is expected to take effect after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand during the autumn, will further test Wales coach Warren Gatland's desire to have his players based in Wales.

Hook is joining Perpignan, Byrne is heading to Clermont Auvergne and Henson has already moved to Toulon via Saracens.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips has also been linked with a possible move from the Liberty Stadium, while head coach Sean Holley has spoken openly of the disadvantages of employing a high number of current Test players.

But their handling of Hook has led ex-Ospreys skipper Scott Gibbs to describe the region as "a disgrace".



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