Out of action for twelve weeks after suffering a ligament tear in his ankle, Welsh international centre Jamie Roberts is once again available for selection, and could well make his return against the Harlequins this Sunday. (Credit : Julien Poupart // Attitude Rugby).
Jamie, what has it been like for you spending the last three months watching from the sidelines?
I found it very hard. I got the injury in only my third game for the club, I was just starting to find my feet on the pitch, beginning to pick up all the calls and so forth, and to get injured at that time was a real blow. But as tough as it has been, I have tried to look at it positively: over the past 3 or 4 years I have played a lot of rugby, it’s been pretty much non-stop, so the only way to look at my injury was as a rest in disguise. But now I’m ready to go again, really looking forward to putting my boots back on and winning with this team.
What has been the reaction within the team after the heavy defeat against the Harlequins last Saturday?
Everyone is just vastly disappointed. We came second-best in every aspect of the game, and we all know that it is not good enough. It is hard for me to comment on the match because I wasn’t on the pitch. But with the calibre of players we’ve got, our fans deserve much better. As a player, there are a lot of things I would like to say, but I don’t feel I have the right at the moment because I haven’t been involved. I just hope that I can contribute to the team this weekend in a positive way.
After watching them score four tries last week, what is your view of the Harlequins?
The Harlequins are a talented team, and they play the game at a pace which asks questions of you defensively, and the boys will be well aware of that after last week. I played against the Harlequins at the Stoop many times during my time with Cardiff, it’s a very traditional rugby ground in the shadows of Twickenham, there is a lot of history there, it’s just a great place to play rugby. On top of that, I just love playing against the English clubs, as a Welshman that rivalry brings out the best in me. And I’d love to be involved this weekend.
In what frame of mind will you and your team-mates be going to the Stoop?
We will go there with confidence. It’s our only option. Because we can’t just go over there and fold. On Saturday there were glimpses of some attacking promise, and our pattern is starting to come together. But we have to be more accurate, defend better, and just stay mentally focussed. It’s as simple as that: stay focussed, do the right things, make the right calls at the right time. And hopefully our quality will shine through.
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Friday 19th August