Gareth Anscombe: Cardiff Blues give fly-half contract 'deadline'
Cardiff Blues have given Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe a deadline of "early next week" to decide whether he wants to stay with the region.
Ospreys are leading the other Welsh regions in showing interest in signing 27-year-old Anscombe, whose national dual contract ends in June.
Coach John Mulvihill said Blues are hopeful he will stay, but want to "move forward if it is not going our way".
Mulvihill said Blues have other options if Anscombe leaves.
"I am still hopeful he is going to be here. He has all his mates he plays with," Mulvihill added.
"Rugby is a funny thing and sometimes decisions are made that are nothing to do with rugby, so we will have to wait and see.
"I am always hopeful, an eternal optimist, but nobody is indispensable. If we get bad news we will have to move on.
"We have spoken to a couple of people and there is a contingency plan, but we might cast the net even wider if that is the case because it will free up the budget.
"If the sky falls in early next week, we will resurrect things and get moving."
Welsh rugby has introduced a new player banding pay system to replace the national dual contract (NDC) with the wages and categories set by the new Professional Rugby Board (PRB).
Anscombe has always signed national dual contracts with Blues and Welsh Rugby Union since arriving from New Zealand in 2014. He appealed against his pay banding verdict but that was rejected.
Despite reported interest from English clubs, Mulvihill believes Anscombe will still stay in Wales, because if he moves outside the country he would be ineligible for Wales as he has not won 60 Test caps.
"He will be staying in Wales - who he plays for it is up to him," said Mulvihill.
"I can't speak for the Ospreys but I know they are desperate to have him, the Scarlets would like him as well and the Dragons also need a 10."
Mulvihill also confirmed Anscombe is in line to captain Blues in their crucial Pro14 trip to face Connacht in Galway on Saturday, with regular skipper Kristian Dacey an injury doubt.