Gatland challenges Delve to seize chance
Published 10/03/2010 | 12:25
Wales boss Warren Gatland has labelled Gareth Delve's return to Test match rugby on Saturday as "a great opportunity" for the in-form Gloucester captain.
Away from the international arena, Delve is currently a subject of intense speculation about where he will play next season, with newly-formed Australian Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels and Cardiff Blues both linked with him, while there is also a possibility he may remain at Gloucester.
Delve must balance any move to Melbourne with the likelihood it would end his World Cup selection hopes in New Zealand next year and Gatland said: "There is a lot for him to play for over the next 12 or 18 months. It is a big game for him against Ireland on Saturday."
He added: "He's very accurate in the way that he plays - he doesn't make a lot of mistakes - and he has led Gloucester well, being a big part of their turnaround in form.
"He is a big physical player who will give us some go-forward. It is a great opportunity for him to come in as a genuine number eight and hopefully take his chance.
"He has been unlucky in recent seasons with long-term injuries, and it is good to see him back playing."
Delve will replace injured Wales captain and number eight Ryan Jones at Croke Park, with flanker Martyn Williams taking over as skipper.
Gatland, meanwhile, has recalled hooker Matthew Rees and lock Luke Charteris.