The switch of hemispheres by Waratahs and Australian scrum half Luke Burgess after the Rugby World Cup next season has put the Sydney-based Super 15 on the hunt for a quality No 9 to replace him.
And speculation has surrounded a possible move from north to south by British & Irish Lions Test half-backs Dwayne Peel and Mike Phillips.
Peel, the Lions’ first choice scrum half in New Zealand in 2005, is currently playing in the English Premiership with Sale Sharks, while Phillips has just been told by his Magners League club, the Ospreys, he can leave if he wishes.
Phillips was the Lions Test starter at No 9 in South Africa in 2009 and has overtaken Peel in the Welsh rankings. He is 29 this year, while Peel will turn 30.
Both players could remain in the reckoning for the Lions’ tour to Australia in 2013 and any experience they might gain in the Super 15 tournament in that country could be of benefit to them.
Burgess is heading to Toulouse, but Waratahs head coach Ewen McKenzie has warned anyone wanting to join his side he won’t be able to match the wages on offer from the top club in Europe.