Welsh Rugby
Delve out to impress Gatland
ESPNscrum Staff
August 2, 2011

Welsh No.8 Gareth Delve has his eyes firmly set on securing a place in Warren Gatland's final 30-man squad for the World Cup.

Delve's journey into Welsh reckoning comes after spending a year plying his trade for the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby. Despite Wales possessing numerous options for the three spots in the back-row, Delve reckons he has the capabilities and the vital southern hemisphere experience to provide a different attractive option for Gatland.

And with Wales facing England on Saturday, Delve believes his journey to a potential maiden World Cup starts with him trying to tie down a spot during the warm-up Tests. "I'm looking forward to the competition and getting stuck in," Delve told BBC Sport. "The back-row is one of the most competitive areas. Coming in and being part of such a strong squad, that's what you really want.

"That's what we've built over the past few years. Certainly under Warren [Gatland] and the guys, the depth has been improved massively. I see it as a huge positive coming into a team where if you're not at the top of your game you're not going to get a shot because that's the only way we are going to win anything.

"I've been impressed coming back into the squad, seeing how fit everyone is and how hard everyone is working. We go to the World Cup with high hopes of going further than we've been before."

Delve faces a stern challenge for the No.8 berth from Scarlets' Tongan born 20-year-old Toby Faletau - who took his bow for the national side against the Barbarians at the start of June. While Faletau was impressing in the northern hemisphere, Delve was turning out against the best the southern hemisphere had to offer on a weekly basis.

And Delve - who was awarded the Melbourne Rebels' Player of the Season award - admits he never let go of his dream of lining up for the national side in the forthcoming World Cup despite playing on the other side of the world.

"I believe that if I could perform down there I could get an opportunity and luckily I have," he said. "In a bit of a roundabout way I felt it was a great opportunity for me to earn a place and hopefully a starting place.

"I did weigh everything up and the opportunity to go down and play against Tri-Nations players. I thought if I could perform against those guys I could give myself a chance of earning a starting a spot in the team.

"Obviously the hard work starts now that I'm actually back among the squad. But I certainly never wrote anything off."

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