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Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Peel may regret Sale move - Jones

Dwayne Peel
Dwayne Peel has won 64 Wales international caps

Former Wales captain Robert Jones insists Dwayne Peel will be regretting his move to Sale Sharks following his axe from Warren Gatland's Wales squad.

Mike Phillips and Gareth Cooper were picked ahead of Peel as the scrum-halves in Gatland's Six Nations squad.

And Jones fears the Lions dreams of the 27-year-old, who swapped the Scarlets for Sale last summer, have been dashed.

"I've no doubt at this moment in time that Dwayne regrets moving to Sale," said Scarlets ex-assistant coach Jones.

Two-time Lions tourist Jones, a star on the victorious trip to Australia in 1989, had been Peel's coaching mentor at Llanelli before Peel moved to England.

But Peel's international chances have been hampered by Sale's selection policy as the Guinness Premiership title contenders have played him just 19 times this season, rotating him with England international Richard Wigglesworth.

Robert Jones
On his day, Peel is one of the best scrum-halves in world rugby

Scarlets former assistant coach Robert Jones

Peel had been one of a few Lions stars during their infamous drubbing in New Zealand in 2005, starting all three Tests, and had been expected to join fellow number nines Phillips and Scotland's Mike Blair on this year's tour.

But his omission by Wales coach Gatland - who, along with Wales assistant Shaun Edwards, is in Ian McGeechan's Lions coaching team - is a big blow for Peel ahead of the summer's Lions tour to South Africa.

And former scrum-half Jones, winner of 54 Wales caps, admits: "Dwayne's move to Sale hasn't quite worked out.

"He'll be gutted as will people in Wales because he is a quality player who, on his day, is one of the best scrum-halves in world rugby both in a technical sense but also his understanding and skill level.

"He moved to Sale to improve his rugby and give himself a new challenge in a new environment but he has suffered a nasty injury and is competing against one of the better scrum-halves in England so his rugby has been limited.

"Now it will be difficult for Dwayne to get on the Lions tour, barring injuries, but Wales have three outstanding scrum-halves and all three are more than capable of doing a good job for Wales and the Lions.

"Opportunities for Dwayne to impress ahead of the Lions are limited or non-existent as the Six Nations is the shop window for Lions selection and the two Welsh boys and Mike Blair are in pole position now."

Peel, a two-time Grand Slam winner with 64 Wales caps, and 1988 Triple Crown winner Jones are two of four Wales scrum-halves who have played more than 50 international matches.


Jones knows Peel well as he coached him at Llanelli and hopes the international stage has not seen the last of the one-time Wales skipper.

"I hope he has the strength of character to bounce back," said Jones.

"He must get his head up and knuckle down but the hallmark of a good player is how they bounce back from difficult times.

"I know he loves representing Wales and he has a lot more to offer."

Forwards (16): Gethin Jenkins, John Yapp, Adam Jones, Rhys Thomas, Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett, Ian Gough, Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ryan Jones (capt), Jonathan Thomas, Dafydd Jones, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Robin Sowden-Taylor.

Backs (12): Mike Phillips, Gareth Cooper, Stephen Jones, James Hook, Gavin Henson, Andrew Bishop, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin, Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Mark Jones, Lee Byrne.

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see also
Wales omit Peel for Six Nations
19 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Howley reveals Peel 'frustrations'
19 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Wales backing young lock Davies
19 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Wales hopeful on Byrne's injury
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Peel set for Wales jersey battle
14 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Cooper gets Wales nod over Peel
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Sale Sharks finalise Peel signing
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Wales' rugby fixtures
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Wales rugby results archive
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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