Gatland hits back at Sale criticism

Last Updated: 18/08/11 8:18pm

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Peel: Set to miss out on World Cup spot

Peel: Set to miss out on World Cup spot

Sky Bet

Wales boss Warren Gatland insists he has been in touch with Sale about the fitness of Dwayne Peel ahead of next month's World Cup.

Sharks' executive director of sport Steve Diamond claimed earlier this week that Wales had declared the scrum-half as not fit without having to spoken to him.

Peel, who has won 76 caps and was a Test Lion six years ago, is set to miss out on a place in Wales coach Gatland's 30-man World Cup squad to be announced next Monday.

He has played no part in Wales' tournament warm-up games this month, with Gatland ready to select Mike Phillips, Tavis Knoyle and Lloyd Williams as his number nines for the New Zealand expedition.

Premiership Rugby's player release criteria meant Peel could not train with Wales before August 4, a factor Gatland conceded had gone against him.

Gatland said on Thursday he had not been in contact with Diamond, but he had spoken to current Sale coach Tony Hanks "a number of times".

"The day-to-day coaching is done by Tony Hanks, and I have spoken to him a number of times about his players, including Dwayne and Andy Powell, and I met him in London last week," said Gatland.

"I was disappointed to read Steve Diamond's comments.

"We received an email from the Sale physiotherapist on August 8 which said Dwayne had a problem with his hip and was not taking part in contact training. We used that information to make the decision not to include him.

"The way we have been training in the last couple of months has been very physical, and because Dwayne was not available to train with us in July there was always going to be a question mark over his fitness.

"That does not mean that if there is an injury to an experienced player like Mike Phillips that we would not go to Dwayne."

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