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Monday 11 December 2017

Gatland: Delve has chance to show worth

Wales boss Warren Gatland has labelled Gareth Delve's return to Test rugby as "a great opportunity" for the in-form Gloucester captain.

Away from the international arena, Delve is a subject of speculation about where he will play next season.

New Australian Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels -- England fly-half Danny Cipriani's destination in five months' time -- and Cardiff Blues have both been linked with him.

There is also a possibility of him remaining at Gloucester, while Delve must balance any move to Melbourne with the likelihood it would end his World Cup selection hopes in New Zealand next year.

"There is a lot for him to play for over the next 12 or 18 months," said Gatland. "It is a big game for him against Ireland on Saturday.

"He's accurate in the way he plays -- he doesn't make a lot of mistakes -- and he has led Gloucester well, being a big part of their turnaround in form.

"He is a big physical player who will give us some go-forward. It is a great opportunity for him to come in as a genuine number eight and hopefully take his chance.

"He has been unlucky in recent seasons with long-term injuries, and it is good to see him back playing."

Delve replaces injured Wales captain Ryan Jones at Croke Park, while Martyn Williams will lead the side.

"The World Cup is a huge draw," admitted Delve. "The chance to possibly make one would be fantastic.

"In terms of international aspirations, I spent a long time maybe feeling a bit disappointed that, while being involved with the squad for a long time, I never quite got that start.

"I have got a chance on Saturday that I am hugely looking forward to, and it is a case of looking at everything from a pretty wide angle and seeing what would be the best in the long term for my whole career."

Gatland, meanwhile, has recalled hooker Matthew Rees and lock Luke Charteris.

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