The Ospreys are searching for a young, charismatic coach to take over and have added Dwayne Peel to a hit list of options.
The 38-year-old former Wales scrum-half – currently coaching at Ulster – fits the age profile the region are seeking in a new talisman to revive their fortunes.
The Ospreys have been impressed by the impact Brad Mooar has had at the Scarlets – on and off the field – in just a few months and want a coach in a similar mould to both lift a downtrodden squad and re-connect with a disillusioned fan base.
The Liberty Stadium outfit have won just one game all season and parted company with former boss Allen Clarke in November. Their fortunes have not improved since then.
Wales’ 2005 Six Nations Grand Slam-winning coach Mike Ruddock has been appointed performance director at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the season.
He has been charged with getting the Ospreys – traditionally Welsh rugby’s strongest region – back on track and has helped draw up an initial short list of coaching candidates with Peel among them.
Former Wales scrum-half Peel won 76 Test caps and was a popular figure at the Ospreys’ rivals, the Scarlets. In January of last year he signed a fresh two-year extension to his deal as an assistant coach with Ulster which could make it difficult for him to be prised away from the Belfast outfit.
Lions Super Rugby coach Swys de Bruin, former Munster and Ireland full-back and South Africa defence consultant Felix Jones, and ex-Otago coach Ben Herring have also been linked with the job.
It is understood Liberty Stadium powerbrokers have also spoken to a high-ranking coach currently plying his trade in the Gallagher Premiership.
Their hope is an appointment will be completed soon. Both the Ospreys and Scarlets are after new coaches for next season while all four regions have begun their recruitment drive for the 2020/21 campaign.
Welsh rugby hopes to benefit from the crisis at Saracens with the English and European champions having accepted Gallagher Premiership relegation for breaking the league’s salary cap rules.
Saracens men Liam Williams, Nick Tompkins and Rhys Carre are all in Wales’ Six Nations squad and it is understood Cardiff Blues are close to re-signing loose-head prop Carre.
The 21-year-old only left the Welsh capital for Saracens in the summer, but his stay at Allianz Park is set to last just one season. Star full-back Williams’ return to the Scarlets has already been confirmed, but he is now expected to be back in Llanelli before the end of the current campaign.
Wayne Pivac’s surprise pick Tomkins is of interest to all four regions.
Asked if Wales’ three Saracens players could soon be heading back over the Severn Bridge, Pivac said: “That could certainly be an option. If that’s the decision we would embrace that. The more players in Wales, the more it works for us. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that.”
The Scarlets and Dragons are looking at Tompkins and Joe Thomas of Leicester Tigers as centre options for next season. Thomas was released by the Ospreys last season and was forced to play club rugby in New Zealand before being picked up by the Welford Road outfit.
Another Leicester player in highly-rated outside-half Sam Costelow will also be heading back to Wales. He has agreed to join the Scarlets.