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Gatland wants Delve in the Magners League

Guinness PRO12 Editor

12 Mar 2010

Wales coach Warren Gatland has urged Gloucester captain Gareth Delve to snub a move to Melbourne Rebels and join the Magners League.

Delve replaces Wales skipper and calf injury victim Ryan Jones at No8 for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against reigning champions Ireland.

The 27-year-old revealed he has held talks to join England star Danny Cipriani at Australia’s new Super 15 franchise but Gatland has made it clear he wants Delve to return home.

"I would like Gareth to be playing in Wales,” said Gatland.

“There’s a lot for him to play for over the next 12 to 18 months if he goes out and gives a good performance (on Saturday). It’s a big game for him.

"Gareth is big, physical, and a good leader. His game is very accurate and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s been unlucky with injuries but it’s great to see him back playing."

Saturday’s Croke Park encounter will see Delve will win only his 10th cap for his country having undergone nine operations – including both shoulders and knees – during an injury-savaged career.

But the former Bath back row’s late call up to the Six Nations squad has suggested he still has an international future and the lure of a World Cup place could see him back in the country of his birth next season.

Delve has been heavily linked with a summer switch to the Cardiff Blues and he admits that he is still yet to decide on his future.

"I’ve been speaking to Melbourne for a while now but I haven’t signed anything yet. It’s on the back-burner as I have enough things spinning around in my head,” said Delve, who last played for Wales on the summer tour of South Africa in 2008.

"After all the injuries, I’ve learnt not to plan too far ahead. But the decision is so tough because it’s based around fantastic opportunities but also big sacrifices. I may never get some of the chances again and that’s what I’m weighing up.

"I saw Danny (Cipriani) at the weekend when Wasps beat us but I wasn’t in the chattiest of moods. It’s a great move for him.

"But the World Cup and international prospects are a huge draw and weigh massively on the side of staying here. But I have to consider the future as much as the present and look at the bigger picture and see what is best for my career in the long-term.

"I got the call-up on Sunday and it’s a fantastic honour and massive bonus for me. I never gave up hope of playing for my country again but it shows I am playing right at the top of my game.

"Hopefully this will lead to more opportunities but all it means is a chance in the jersey. It’s down to me.

“If I can do myself justice then it will leave me with a lot to think about."