Diamond backs Peel for RWC inclusion
August 17, 2011
Sale's Dwayne Peel looks set to miss out on World Cup selection © Getty Images
Sale boss Steve Diamond has urged Wales coach Warren Gatland to include Dwayne Peel in their final 30-man squad for the World Cup.
Peel is yet to feature for Wales in their warm-up Tests and has been left out of their squad for their final pre-World Cup game against Argentina on Saturday. And despite claims from Wales' assistant coach Rob Howley that Peel was struggling with a finger injury, Diamond has weighed into the debate insisting the 76-cap scrum-half has been in training since early June.
Peel is currently way down the Welsh pecking order seemingly behind British & Irish Lions half-back Mike Phillips and the youthful duo of Tavis Knoyle and Lloyd Williams. Despite this, Diamond believes Peel still has much to offer at the highest level.
"We want Dwayne to play in the World Cup, and I think Wales should have another look at their selection," Diamond told Sky Sports. "Yes, he did have a finger injury but he's not missed one training session with us since June 6 and he was declared fit to go into contact in July.
"To be perfectly honest the Wales management haven't spoken to me about Dwayne Peel in the six months that I've been at the club. Common sense tells us that they're not going to pick him, which is fantastic for Sale but not fantastic for him.
"He's nearly 30 and he wants to go to the World Cup. When I joined the club that was made perfectly clear - we would get him fit and get him in a mindset to go to the World Cup for six, eight, 10 weeks and then come back to us for the next two to three years.
"He's a great guy, a fantastic player and we're very supportive of him. I just think it's a lack of communication but certainly not from us.
"We've tried to speak to Wales about his situation but ultimately they haven't played ball with any of the Premiership sides with their players."
Peel's current deal with Sale ruled him out of joining up with the Welsh national team before August 4. This meant the 29-year-old missed out on both trips to the bootcamp in Poland with the national side.
And Gatland has admitted a lack of time with the national squad could eventually prove to be Peel's downfall in terms of World Cup selection. "Dwayne has been unlucky in the last couple of years in that every time we've had him involved, his body has not always been 100 per cent," said Gatland. "There have never been a number of occasions, which have been well-documented, when he hasn't been available to us.
"He wasn't available to us until August 4, which really hampered his opportunities. It has made it difficult. He hadn't been 100 per cent pre-season, he had a couple of injuries that had been an issue.
"We have been pleased with the progress Mike Phillips has made in the first couple of games, and the two youngsters - Tavis Knoyle and Lloyd Williams - are really putting pressure on him. They are probably two of the fittest players we have in the squad.
"We are confident in picking Tavis, and we've also been incredibly impressed by the way Lloyd Williams has come on."
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