Welsh star staying Down Under
Rebels vice-captain Gareth Delve has re-signed with the franchise and will remain in Melbourne for 2013.
Rebels vice-captain Gareth Delve has re-signed with the franchise and will remain in Melbourne for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
Delve, a Welsh international, joined the Rebels ahead of its inaugural season on a two-year contract, becoming the first Welshman to play Super Rugby.
Weighing in at 114kg, Delve now has 28 Super Rugby caps and four tries to his name.
The No.8 quickly impressed in the Southern Hemisphere, missing just one game in a debut season where he became the first foreigner to captain an Australian Super Rugby side (Round Nine, against the Highlanders last year).
Born in 1982 in Cardiff, he accepted a scholarship to Colston's Collegiate School in Bristol before signing a professional contract with Bath in 2001.
He made his international debut for Wales in 2006, before moving to Gloucester in 2007.
Delve was named joint captain at Kingsholm, leading the side out onto Twickenham for the Final of the 2009 Anglo-Welsh Cup.
He joined the Rebels in 2010 and after two years in the Victorian capital, and was recently called into the Welsh touring side for its series against the Wallabies.
And despite the critics who initially questioned his move to Super Rugby, Delve says he never doubted his decision.
"I am thrilled to sign on for another year," said Delve.
"I believe this franchise is moving in the right direction and now I can continue to be a part of that. There was always an element of risk associated with the move, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne.
"From a rugby perspective, playing against the world's best week in and week out has been great for the development of my game. It was always going to be a massive challenge, but I am very happy I came to Australia to play in this competition.
"On a personal note, I am thrilled to be staying in Melbourne, I have become very attached to this city over the past two years and it certainly feels like home now.
"I also want to mention my teammates, I love playing alongside the lads and look forward to the opportunity to push for a finals berth in 2013 with them."
Rebels CEO Steven Boland said the news would be welcomed throughout the Victorian rugby community.
"This is a huge coup for the Rebels," said Boland.
"Over the past two years Gareth has shown what a fantastic player and wonderful ambassador he is for our club.
"His leadership has also been outstanding and given the upcoming retirement of our Captain Stirling Mortlock, Gareth will once again be an important part of our leadership group next year.
"Put simply, we are thrilled that 'Delvey' is staying with the Rebels."