Gareth Delve admits that he leaves Melbourne with a heavy heart after ending his three-year spell with the Rebels.
Having seen his side overturn a 24-point deficit to beat the Highlanders, Rebels captain Gareth Delve admits that he leaves Melbourne with a heavy heart.
The Welshman was one a number of players who played their last game for the Rebels on Friday, with Delve, Cooper Vuna, Ged Robinson, Nick Phipps and James O'Connor all heading for pastures new, while Nic Henderson has called time on his career. Outside of the matchday 22, James King and Richard Kingi and Tim Davidson (retiring) also saw their Rebels careers come to an end. The match also marked the end of coach Damien Hill and his assistant John Muggleton's tenure.
The contest was a rollercoaster ride and emotions were running high after the victory.
“We give ourselves such mountains to climb sometimes, but if we take that out of our game we will be very hard to beat next year” Delve told the Rebels' official website.
“There's character in this team and that shined through tonight.
“I've been trying not to think about it being my last game here all week. My sister is over from the UK, and she has been asking me all day how I've been feeling! I read a quote that said 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it's happened', and that's it. This has been the best three years of my life.”
While Hill leaves having been relieved of his duties, he is confident that he leaves the Rebels on the up.
“It's a very capable playing group with a lot of enthusiasm and trust in each other, and I think they showed us how close they are in their last forty minutes,” he said.
“I couldn't be prouder of the result tonight given the score at halftime and the fightback in the second half.
“I really encourage the supporters to get behind the new coach and push this team on to bigger and better things. I will definitely miss this; the emotions you go through in every game, while the lows can be hard, the highs are fantastic.”