Wales' Gareth Delve eyes World Cup opportunity

2011 RWC warm-up match: England v Wales

Venue:
Twickenham
Date:
Saturday, 6 August
Kick-off:
1430 BST
Coverage:
Live commentary on BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. highlights on BBC Sport website and on BBC Three (Saturday 1900-2000 BST) and on BBC Two (Sunday 1100-1200 BST)
Gareth Delve
Delve made his Wales debut against Scotland in 2006

Wales number eight Gareth Delve has said he is relishing the challenge to secure a World Cup place.

The 28-year-old won the last of his 11 caps as a replacement against Italy in Cardiff in the Six Nations Championship in March 2010.

But the Melbourne Rebels player is in Wales' provisional World Cup squad.

"I'm looking forward to the competition and getting stuck in," the former Bath and Gloucester back-row forward said.

Warren Gatland's side face England in their first World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Saturday.

They face further games against England and Argentina before the final World Cup squad of 30 is announced on 22 August.

Wales' preparations so far have included two separate training camps in Poland, of which Delve attended the second last month.

And the Cardiff-born player is hoping to be among the players who will be travelling to New Zealand although acknowledging the competition will be fierce.

"The back-row is one of the most competitive areas," he said. "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 left Gloucester to join Melbourne Rebels last year and has captained the side in their debut season in Super Rugby.

He had expressed fears his move to Australia would make it difficult for him to continue representing Wales.

But he believes moving to Australia, where he has faced the Southern Hemisphere's most prominent players, has helped his World Cup aspirations.

"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."

Wales need to believe in themselves if they are to have a successful campaign in New Zealand according to Delve.

Reigning World champions South Africa are among Wales' Pool D opponents with Gatland's side facing the Springboks on 11 September in Wellington.

"Confidence is a massive factor," said Delve. "These Tri Nations teams have been top of the tree for a long time.

"We need to take the confidence down there that we believe that we can beat them.

"Having played against many of the guys down there, they are fantastic athletes. But we have plenty of those up here as well.

"If we believe in ourselves and back ourselves then we can go and cause a few upset."

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