Delve targets Lions place
July 19, 2012
Gareth Delve has signed for a third season with Super Rugby's Melbourne Rebels after winning their player of the year award © Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels No. 8 Gareth Delve has targeted a place on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia despite not having played for Wales since the 2010 Six Nations.
During Wales' three-Test tour to Australia in June he was called up as a replacement after Toby Faletau was ruled out of the second and third Tests through injury, but did not play. Even though his success down under has meant he has missed out on international appearances, he still believes he is knowledge of the local game could benefit the tourists.
"I'd love to make that tour. It's a huge ambition of mine," Delve told The Western Mail. "If I can perform, hopefully they'll be casting the net wide and I'll have a pretty decent knowledge of Australian Rugby by then. It'll be fantastic if that was the case."
Even if he fails to make the squad, Delve is likely to line-up against the Lions. The Rebels are due to meet the tourists in the week ahead of the second Test in Melbourne. Earlier in the year Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon were leading the chase for his signature and it appeared that he was due to return to the northern hemisphere before he signed an extension with the Rebels.
"I sort of had one foot out the door earlier on in the year which was going to be really tough," he said. "But to be able to be a part of this for another year, and the journey we'll take with the Lions coming over next season is going to be massive for rugby in Melbourne. With the squad we're putting together we could be knocking on the door of doing some big things."
The former Bath and Gloucester player recently signed a contract extension for a third season with the Rebels. Since joining in 2011 he has been a popular figure in Australia, has won 28 caps, scored four tries and this year won the Rod McQueen Medal for Player of the Season. He also became the first foreign player to captain a Super Rugby side when he led the team out against the Highlanders during his first year in Melbourne.
"It's incredible to get those rewards and recognition," Delve said. "The fact we've had such a good season and to be part of such a great team is reward enough, but to get that recognition as a foreign player means a huge amount to me."
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