Cardiff Blues have confirmed Martyn Williams and Tom Shanklin will not be offered new deals at the end of the season.
The veteran duo - who have both been capped by Wales and the Lions - are the biggest casualties as the Blues look to cut their playing budget following their early exit from the Heineken Cup.
Cardiff's failure to make it out of the pool stages has cost the club a reported £500,000.
As a result chief Peter Thomas has been forced to make some tough decisions - starting with telling Williams and Shanklin that they will be free agents at the end of the season.
"This is the biggest, hardest, toughest, worst decision I have had to make in my 20 years with Cardiff," Thomas told the South Wales Echo.
"They are two of the greatest servants we have ever had. I have never met two finer people than Martyn and Tom. I think they are absolute gems, who have given us everything.
"Tom has kept his knee together since the Lions tour of 2005 and put his body on the line year after year.
"And Martyn is a legend who richly deserves to become a centurion for what he has done for Welsh rugby. He is one of this country's finest ever players.
"But Old Father Time catches up with everybody. They are both coming out of contract and part of the cutbacks are that people who are out of contract can't be retained because other people are in contract."
The Blues had spent big with the likes of Dan Parks and Michael Paterson being recruited in the summer.
However Thomas as confirmed the new playing budget would now be £4.4m for the 2011/12 season.