Gareth Delve reckons the Lions’ tour of Australia will provide a major boost to rugby in Melbourne.
The Wales No.8 has spent the last two years Down Under and scooped two awards at Melbourne Rebels end of season dinner.
Delve won the Rod Macqueen Pursuit of Excellence Award and the People’s Choice Award.
He will remain in Melbourne for another year and is already relishing the new season, which includes a clash with the Lions during the 2013 tour.
“It’s incredible to get those rewards and recognition,” said Delve, who was called into Wales’ summer tour squad.
“The fact we’ve had such a good season and to be part of such a great team is reward enough, but to get that recognition as a foreign player means a huge amount to me.
“But it all goes back to what we’ve done as a team this season. It’s nice to pick up the awards but it’s more about what we’ve done and the journey we’re on as a side.
“I sort of had one foot out the door earlier on in the year which was going to be really tough.
“But to be able to be a part of this for another year, and the journey we’ll take with the Lions coming over next season is going to be massive for rugby in Melbourne.
“With the squad we’re putting together we could be knocking on the door of doing some big things.”
The former Bath and Gloucester star has previously spoken of his desire to play for the Lions.
He will have a depth of knowledge and experience from Australian rugby following his stay Down Under.
But whether he plays for the Rebels or earns a place with the Lions, Delve will face some of his team-mates.
“I’d love to make that tour. It’s a huge ambition of mine,” Delve told Lions Rugby previously.
“If I can perform, hopefully they’ll be casting the net wide and I’ll have a pretty decent knowledge of Australian Rugby by then. It’ll be fantastic if that was the case.”