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Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 19:03 UK

Gareth Delve admits Wales international fear

Gareth Delve
Number eight Gareth Delve has won 11 international caps for Wales

Gareth Delve concedes his move to Super 15 new boys Melbourne Rebels next season will make it "difficult" for him to continue representing Wales.

But the 27-year-old number eight has vowed to pay his own air fare back from Australia in a bid to remain in Warren Gatland's 2011 Rugby World Cup plans.

Delve will miss next year's Six Nations as it clashes with the Super 15 season but is available for other games.

"I hope continuing to play for Wales is a realistic option," said Delve.

The Gloucester captain turned down a bid from his home-town region Cardiff Blues - the Welsh rugby management's 'preferred option' - to sign a two-year deal to play for new franchise Melbourne Rebels in their inaugural Super 15 season.

Delve revealed that staying at his current club Gloucester was "not an option" so he will leave for Australia in September in time for the start of the new Super 15 season next February.

The 11-times capped international - who made his first Six Nations start in their defeat in Ireland earlier this month - is set to become the first Welshman to play in the domestic league that features the top sides from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

Delve fears his move may hinder his international hopes as Wales coach Gatland has not looked favourably upon players playing outside of Wales, let alone those on the other side of the world.

But Rebels head coach Rod Maqueen - the 1999 World Cup winning Australian coach hopes - told BBC Sport: "I would hope he still has the opportunity to play for Wales if needed.

"He would have an opportunity at some stage, if he is playing well enough, that Wales might look at him for the 2011 Rugby World Cup but that is up to the Welsh Rugby Union.

"However, we would encourage him to play for his country again."

But asked if he is resigned to not playing for Wales during his time in Melbourne, Delve told BBC Wales Scrum V show: "I think that is a big possibility and something I had to consider.

"Representing my country is huge for me but testing myself against the best Tri Nations players and compete on their playing fields was a once in a career opportunity.

"I hope there can be some flexibility with Wales as obviously it will difficult with the geography but I'd be willing to work as hard as I can to make Wales dates.

"I've arranged with the Rebels that provided dates don't interfere with the Super 15 season - and the only competition that falls inside that is the Six Nations - then they are more than happy to release me for my Wales commitments.

"So hopefully I can sit down and speak with someone from the Welsh camp and let them know that and let them know the Rebels are encouraging me to be involved with the World Cup campaign.

Steve N

"It will just be a case of me coming back and even if that had to come out of my pocket for tours, autumn internationals and the World Cup then that will be something that I'll be more than happy to do.

"I made a conscious decision of not talking with Warren and the Wales management when deciding my future as I was concentrating on the games.

"They let me know that they would prefer me to go back to Cardiff and there were no ultimatums, they were very fair and I appreciated that they didn't lean on me too much.

"But I know it makes things more difficult for my Welsh aspirations and hopefully we can work through that.

"If not, I am 29 at the end of my next contract and hopefully there's plenty of time left in me to attain those ambitions. I'm open to dialogue with the Welsh guys and let them know my decision when I signed."

Delve made his Wales debut against Scotland in the 2006 Six Nations but the powerful 6ft 3in, 18st 2lb player's career has been hampered by a series of knee injuries.

The injury-plagued forward's international career looked to be revived after winning a late call-up into Wales' 2010 Six Nations campaign.

But his move to Australia puts his Wales career in doubt again.

"I hope to blaze a trail for the Northern hemisphere guys and show we're not afraid go down to test ourselves against them," he said.

"In some respects that will compensate for the competition side of playing international rugby, which is about playing the best players in the world, but ideally I'd like the chance to play for Wales again.

"We'll see what the Welsh management and I can work out."

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see also
Melbourne confirm Delve signing
28 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Delve ready to decide on future
18 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Delve ponders Australia or Wales
08 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Cipriani agrees Melbourne switch
19 Feb 10 |  London Wasps
Ambitious Delve looking to future
09 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Injured Delve moves to Gloucester
30 Mar 07 |  Gloucester
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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