Gareth Delve retains Wales recall hope at Ospreys

Gareth Delve
Gareth Delve won his last Wales cap against Ireland in 2010

Gareth Delve has not given up on a Wales recall, but admits his Test career may have been harmed by playing his entire career outside the country.

The Ospreys back-rower, 32, has played for Bath, Gloucester, Melbourne Rebels and Green Rockets in Japan.

He has won 11 Wales caps and says going to Japan was "maybe drawing a line under my international aspirations".

Cardiff-bred Delve is starting a two-year Ospreys deal, the first time he will have played for a Welsh team.

"I was around the Welsh squad for nine years and I'm very proud of the caps I did pick up," said Delve.

"Obviously it didn't work out being an hour over the [Severn] bridge, which was difficult, so I did understand that by going to the other side of the world it was maybe drawing a line under my international ambitions.

"But I'm very proud of the caps I picked up and the experiences I've had."

Gareth Delve tackles Manu Tuilagi
Gareth Delve tackled Manu Tuilagi as he led Melbourne Rebels against the 2013 Lions in Australia

Delve has not played for his country for five years, despite being in the preliminary squad for the last World Cup in 2011.

But he refuses to accept his Wales career is over, however unlikely a recall may be as Wales prepare for the 2015 World Cup.

"I'll never say never," he said. "Certainly if I'm playing well enough then maybe I'll get the shout, but my focus now is on the Ospreys."

As Delve returns to his home country, the WRU is encouraging stop stars not follow his lead of moving away by signing some on national dual contracts.

However, others have still left and as a result centre Jamie Roberts may not have full release for Wales when he joins Harlequins after the World Cup.

But Delve believes players should not be punished for pursuing their careers and instead more incentives to stay in Wales should be created.

He said: "The focus should maybe be more on creating the best opportunities for people here as opposed to the threat of taking things away from people for having to move or wanting to move.

"At the end of the day it is a global game.

"I've had some fantastic experiences on the other side of the world and I've really enjoyed that.

"If you take that away from the players, that's a little bit unfair. But it's still each to their own."