Dwayne Peel’s coaching future has been thrown into uncertainty with the Scarlets interested in bringing the former scrum-half back to Llanelli and plucking him from the clutches of Cardiff Blues.
Cardiff Blues – who this week confirmed they will become Cardiff Rugby from August 1 – confirmed in December last year that Peel would join them from Ulster this summer for the 2021-22 season.
Peel is understood to have signed a Cardiff contract to that extent, but since putting pen to paper the coaching hierarchy at the Welsh capital region has changed.
John Mulvihill departed as head coach in January with Dai Young appointed as director of rugby on an interim basis. It is understood the change could mean Peel doesn’t join Cardiff as planned.
A Cardiff Blues statement read: “Cardiff Blues have been made aware of speculation another Welsh region have made an approach to Dwayne Peel about a potential coaching position ahead of next season.
“The former Wales scrum-half signed a three-year contract with Cardiff Blues last year and is due to arrive at the Arms Park in the summer. Peel, who is currently an assistant coach at Ulster Rugby, remains contracted to Cardiff Blues from July 2021 until June 2024.
“Cardiff Blues will be making no further comment.”
The 39-year-old – widely considered one of the finest up-and-coming Welsh coaches – is now considering joining his home region Scarlets instead as head coach.
Such a move would see current Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney be appointed director of rugby.
Peel won 76 Wales caps and three for the British & Irish Lions on their 2005 tour of New Zealand and is a Scarlets hero after playing 151 matches and winning the Celtic League in 2003-04.
Peel’s potential return to his home region would be hugely popular with their supporters, but it is far from a done deal and it is understood a messy legal battle is likely to ensue.
Inter-regional relationships between Cardiff and Scarlets are far from cordial and their imminent tug of war for Peel won’t do anything for their relationship.
Cardiff hold all the aces with Peel’s signature on the dotted line and Scarlets will have to compensate the capital side to get him on board at a time when finances are tight due to the impact of Covid-19.
It is a messy situation with a far from simple conclusion and there is now no guarantee Peel will even come to Welsh rugby at all.