Topics:  british and irish lions, melbourne rebels, test series

Rebels Captain on the wrong side of his childhood dream

AS A youngster growing up in rugby-mad Cardiff, Gareth Delve dreamed of playing for the British and Irish Lions one day, not against them like he will do at Melbourne's AAMI Park tonight.

The No.8, who has played 11 Tests for Wales, will captain the Melbourne Rebels against the tourists, which means he'll come up against plenty of his former teammates - he has no plans to take it easy on them though.

"My loyalty is to the Rebels and I'm proud to be representing them," Delve, who will be playing his second-last game for the Rebels before he leaves at the end of the Super Rugby season, said.

"I just can't wait to get stuck in and have a crack at them - I am certainly not going to change anything about the way I play the game.

"Both sides will be flying in for the tackles, but afterwards we'll all have a couple of beers and have a good catch-up.

"But once you cross the line, it's all going to be on."

With Wallabies Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and Nick Phipps unavailable ahead of Saturday's second Test, the Rebels will be boosted by the return from injury of lock Hugh Pyle and blindside flanker Jarrod Saffy.

Halfback Luke Burgess, a veteran of 37 Tests for the Wallabies, will also make his first run-on start for the Rebels since returning from a stint in France.

Rebels: Henderson, Robinson, Weeks, Neville, Pyle, Saffy, Fuglistaller, Delve (c), Burgess, Hegarty, Mitchell, Sidey, Inman, English, Woodward. Reserves: Laefa, Ah Nau, Alo-Emile, Jones, Reid, Stirzaker, Roberts, Vuna.

Lions: Kearney, Maitland, Tuilagi, Barritt, Zebo, Farrell, Murray, Grant, Hibbard, Cole, Gray, Ian Evans, Lydiate (c), O'Brien, Faletau. Reserves: Best, Court, Stevens, Croft, Tipuric, Ben Youngs, Twelvetrees, Hogg.


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