Rebels internationals set to sign off
May 22, 2013
Welsh international Gareth Delve has made an impact with the Rebels both on and off the field © Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels will part ways with international players Gareth Delve and Ged Robinson at season's end, with both foundation players fulfilling their three-year commitments with the club.
With more than 80 Super Rugby Caps between them, the Welsh international and Junior All Black will part the Rebels with a lasting legacy. Delve won the Club's "Pursuit of Excellence Medal" in 2012 and Robinson claimed the "Spirit of Weary Dunlop Medal" in his rookie season.
Rebels CEO, Rob Clarke, spoke of Delve and Robinson's contributions to the club as a significant one, going well beyond the full-time whistle.
"The Rebels were very grateful that the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) allowed special dispensation for Ged and Gareth to remain at the club beyond their two-year window, as part of the international marquee rulings," Clarke said.
"Gareth has been an inspirational leader since he arrived from the UK in 2010. We all know the impact Gareth has had on the rugby field, but what many people don't realise is the significant impact he has had within the Victorian Rugby community, travelling throughout Victoria promoting rugby, visiting schools, clubs and local charities. He has been a true leader in the Five Star Engagement program.
"Ged arrived and quickly stated himself as the club's standout rake. He has been a fantastic player and very passionate about the game here in the community and has really embraced Melbourne, playing in the local Dewar Shield Competition with Harlequins and supporting Diabetes Victoria, a charity that is very close to his heart."
Rebels Head Coach Damien Hill echoed similar sentiments about the pair.
"One of the club's finest moments was seeing Gareth take the field in his beloved Welsh colours in Canberra. The fact that so many Melbourne supporters travelled to see him play shows the impact he has had on this city," Hill said. "Knowing them both, they will want to leave this club winners and they have plenty more to play for, with the Lions match in June, and three local derbies against teams we have not beaten."
The in-form Robinson spoke of his love for the club and the city of Melbourne, with his ambition to play for his country the contributing factor in returning home to New Zealand.
"It is a boyhood dream to play for the All Blacks, so I want to go back and give it a crack and put my name in the hat," Robinson said. "I would hate to look back on life and say I had a chance but didn't give it a go, so we will see how I get on over there. Playing regularly here has given me so much more confidence as a player and a person, and I am just so grateful to everybody at the Rebels for the opportunity presented to me."
Robinson and Delve will join Nick Phipps and Wallaby tourist Richard Kingi who confirmed he will leave Australian rugby to play for French glamour club, Stade Francais, along with James King who also heads abroad.
"Richard is a very special player, his versatility is like no other in Australian rugby," Clarke said. "He has been part of many great moments in this club's short history and we were all very disappointed to see his season cut short through injury last month."
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand