Delve to Captain Melbourne Rebels
By the AAP
Welshman Gareth Delve will captain the Melbourne Rebels this Super Rugby season but coach Damien Hill is leaving the vice-captaincy open until a player "stands out".
Deputy in the first two years of the Rebels, Delve was confirmed in the role on Friday after serving as stand-in captain for much of the 2012 season through injury to now-retired Stirling Mortlock.
Last year young lock Hugh Pyle was vice-captain but Hill wants him to concentrate on his own game as line-out leader and he is looking for a back to make his case for the role.
Wallabies James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale are the obvious choices but Hill said whoever took the job had to earn it.
"In the fullness of time over the trials if one of those players stands out then the vice-captaincy will also be considered," Hill said.
Delve is the first import player to hold the captaincy in an Australian Super side.
The hard-working No.8 was set to leave the Rebels at the end of last season before extending his contract for another year.
Hill said it was recognition of 30-year-old's Delve's impact on the club.
"His performances on and off the field have been recognised by the playing group and the whole organisation and it's a fantastic achievement.
"Gareth's consistently been one of the leaders of the team, along with our 2013 club captain Tim Davidson they are the two who have been at the forefront of leadership."
Delve said he didn't expect the honour when he arrived at the new club three years ago having never played Super Rugby.
"The club's been fantastic in giving me the opportunity to have a leadership role and being a part of building a great culture at this place," he said.
"This is icing on the cake."
Delve's first game as skipper will be on Saturday afternoon when the Rebels face the Wellington Hurricanes in their final trial in Geelong.
They kick off their season proper against the Western Force at AAMI Park next Friday night.