Delve named on Rebels bench
August 11, 2011
Delve enjoyed a successful first season with the Rebels which resulted in him being named their player of the year © Getty Images
Wales No.8 Gareth Delve has been named on the bench for the Melbourne Rebels in their clash against Bath on Friday at the Recreation Ground.
Delve - who was a late call-up to Wales' second training camp in Spala, Poland - had hoped to get his chance to impress Warren Gatland in Wales' double-header against England. However, it appears he is been sent back to his clubside in a bid to accrue some game time before Wales' third warm-up match against Argentina on August 20.
It is unclear whether Delve will still play a part in Wales' pre-World Cup preparations with Gatland poised to name his final 30-man squad two days after their third and final warm-up match against the Pumas on August 20. However, playing on his old turf at the Recreation Ground is incentive enough for the former Bath and Gloucester No.8 to show off his range of back-row skills in front of a West Country crowd.
And Wales boss Gatland admits there were concerns over his lack of recent game time. "We feel Gareth needs a bit of rugby," explained Gatland. "It has been hard for him because he has had a bit of a knee injury.
"He has come off a good Super Rugby campaign where it has been recognised that he has played pretty well. But it has been hard for him coming in here because his levels of fitness have not been quite as good as the others because he has not been able to train as much.
"We wanted him to have a run for the Rebels on Friday and see whether he will come into contention for next week against Argentina. There is a huge amount of competition in the loose forwards and guys who are fit and taking a part in all the sessions will have an advantage.
"We know Gareth is a good footballer and will see how he goes on Friday night."
Elsewhere in the Rebels side - former Bath captain Michael Lipman will return to the Rec for the first time since leaving the West Country side under a cloud in 2009. And he will be joined in the Rebels side by former England fly-half Danny Cipriani.
Melbourne Rebels: P Betham, P Fou, S Mortlock, L Mitchell, C Vuna, D Cipriani, R Kingi; E Aholelei, G Robinson, L Weeks, H Pyle, C Neville, L Jones, M Lipman, T Davidson
Replacements: N Henderson, L Holmes, G Somerville, J Saffy, N Ah Wong, D Hardisty, J Hilgendorf, L Windon, G Delve
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