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.
â00The mental side of it was really tough in South Africa because Iâ00d 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,â0 says Delve.
â00But Iâ00ve got to get over it and, luckily enough, itâ00s 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 itâ00s one Iâ00ve been through before and one I can come back from a better player.
â00Iâ00m not going to reset my ambitions. The time that I do that will be the time that I say, â00right, thatâ00s it, thatâ00s game overâ00. Iâ00m hungry for more caps and hungry for the fact that thereâ00s a British Lions tour at the end of the year.
â00I can come back from this better and I can still achieve everything I want to.â0
That remarkably positive attitude is proving a vital aspect of Delveâ00s recovery, which according to the man himself, is going according to plan.
â00Itâ00s feeling great, although itâ00s slow at the moment.
â00The surgery is actually going to make it a lot more solid in the long run so itâ00s a bit more complicated in the beginning but weâ00re still looking at a six-month rehab. Iâ00ve just got to take it easy at the beginning and I can work on from there.
â00Iâ00m 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. Itâ00s just a case of taking it slowly at the beginning so that Iâ00ve got a good base that I can push on from.
â00I guess (Iâ00ll start running) around the three-month mark, so that will take me into mid-September. If Iâ00m 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.â0
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.
â00Within 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.
â00It makes it a lot more difficult than if Iâ00d been fit going into this season but itâ00s an ambition Iâ00ve always had to play for the Lions. First things first, Iâ00ve got to get fit, start playing well and, hopefully, go from there.
â00If Iâ00m lucky enough, I could have two games against Ian McGeechanâ00s Wasps team this year so itâ00s a chance for me to put myself in the window with some big performances for Gloucester.â0
Producing those big performances for Gloucester is definitely Delveâ00s primary aim, particularly as he feels he owes something to a club who have stuck by him despite seeing him spend most of his Cherry and Whites career on the sidelines.
â00The club have been fantastic. Itâ00s the second time Iâ00ve come back to Gloucester with a big knee injury. I joined the club last year injured and that was hugely frustrating so I was really looking forward to having a good pre-season and improving on where I was at the end of last year.
â00Seeing the guys train and get ready for the new season obviously makes it pretty difficult but itâ00s a huge motivation to get back on my feet as soon as I can and get stuck in. In some ways itâ00s better to miss the start of the season rather than the business end when weâ00re challenging for cups and the league, hopefully.
â00Iâ00m so desperate now to get fit, get firing and really show my worth to the club and make sure we end this year with a lot of silverware.â0
Gloucester finished last season in disappointing fashion as they crashed out at the semi-final stages of the Guinness Premiership despite finishing top of the league once again. However, for Delve, the run-in to the end of the campaign brought all-important game time and a burst of consistently impressive form, although he insists there is far more still to come.
â00Last year was a good season for me in terms of playing and getting back out on the park but Iâ00ve had a look at a few of the games and Iâ00ve seen where my weaknesses were. Iâ00ve got a few months now to work on all of them and make sure Iâ00m a better a player.
â00The weaknesses were mainly my game management. Iâ00d spent so much time either injured or coming off the bench, it was a case of, when I was finding my feet, literally just going through the games.
â00With that amount of experience behind me from last season, I know I can bring a little bit of my old self back in and be a bit more aggressive around the contact area and really start stamping myself on games.â0
If Delve can continue to progress at club level when he makes what will be a long-awaited return, his chances of making the Lions squad may well be helped by another historic year with a Welsh side looking to build on last seasonâ00s unexpected success.
â00With Warren (Gatland), Shaun (Edwards), Rob (Howley) and Robyn (McBryde) at the helm, weâ00re going places.
â00Weâ00ve got one of the most talented squads weâ00ve had for a long time, and I mean squad in the sense that before there was no depth to a Welsh team whereas weâ00re challenging each other now.
â00Things havenâ00t come easy to me but it means I donâ00t take anything for granted and I know that Iâ00m privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of winning a Grand Slam. Iâ00ve gone down in history with a very good Welsh team. Things are looking great and, obviously, itâ00s a huge spur to get back involved with that and win more things.
â00All the negative times make all the achievements sweeter. At least one day Iâ00ll be able to look at my career and say Iâ00ve earned everything Iâ00ve had and it didnâ00t come easy. I wouldnâ00t mind a few things coming a bit easier than they have but youâ00ve got to take the cards youâ00re dealt.
â00In many ways, I had a really good season, really enjoyed it and, in perspective, things could be much worse. Thatâ00s not to say it doesnâ00t hurt at the moment, but Iâ00ll get through it and Iâ00ll come back a better player and a stronger person.â0