With just 20 minutes played, the 25-year-old No8 was hit by another substantial injury which is expected to keep him out of action until the New Year.
As if to rub salt into the wounds of a young player already having suffered more setbacks than professionals with twice his amount of experience, the injury occurred during his first ever start in a senior Welsh jersey. The fact that injuries had forced Delve to wait five years since his uncapped debut against the Barbarians to achieve that landmark made his misfortune even more galling.
"The mental side of it was really tough in South Africa because I'd worked so hard, not only to get fit last year, but also to get the opportunity to get my first start and for that to be cut short after 20 minutes was devastating at the time," says Delve.
"But I've got to get over it and, luckily enough, it's one of those injuries that I can recover from. There have been some bad injuries in rugby in recent times and I can just be grateful that it's one I've been through before and one I can come back from a better player.
"I'm not going to reset my ambitions. The time that I do that will be the time that I say, 'right, that's it, that's game over'. I'm hungry for more caps and hungry for the fact that there's a British Lions tour at the end of the year.
"I can come back from this better and I can still achieve everything I want to."
That remarkably positive attitude is proving a vital aspect of Delve's recovery, which according to the man himself, is going according to plan.
"It's feeling great, although it's slow at the moment.
"The surgery is actually going to make it a lot more solid in the long run so it's a bit more complicated in the beginning but we're still looking at a six-month rehab. I've just got to take it easy at the beginning and I can work on from there.
"I'm looking to be off the crutches this week which will be a huge relief. You start to feel a bit more human when you can walk properly. It's just a case of taking it slowly at the beginning so that I've got a good base that I can push on from.
"I guess (I'll start running) around the three-month mark, so that will take me into mid-September. If I'm running by then, it gives me a good three months to build my speed, build up the power in my legs and, hopefully, be back around the New Year."
Although a proposed January return would leave him with only a few months to push his claims for the Lions tour to South Africa, Delve is taking comfort from the speed at which his fortunes turned around following recovery from his previous knee operation.
Having begun his career at Gloucester last season with a ruptured ACL, Delve powered his way back to fitness and form in time to be a part of an historic Welsh Grand Slam triumph in February and March.
"Within a year of me doing my knee, it was pretty much the France game and I was part of a Grand Slam-winning team. I know I can make that turnaround in a year.
"It makes it a lot more difficult than if I'd been fit going into this season but it's an ambition I've always had to play for the Lions. First things first, I've got to get fit, start playing well and, hopefully, go from there.
"If I'm lucky enough, I could have two games against Ian McGeechan's Wasps team this year so it's a chance for me to put myself in the window with some big performances for Gloucester."
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