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Jamie Roberts: Bath centre hopes to catch new Wales boss Wayne Pivac’s eye


Jamie Roberts is in his second season with Bath after joining from Harlequins

Bath centre Jamie Roberts says he has not given up on his Wales ambitions as he bids to impress new head coach Wayne Pivac.

Roberts, who turned 33 last week, won the last of his 94 Wales caps in November 2017 against New Zealand.

Warren Gatland has been replaced as Wales head coach by Pivac following the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“I guess with new management now it is an opportunity for me to show them what I can do,” said Roberts.

The three-times capped British and Irish Lions centre is not available for Pivac’s opening fixture against Barbarians on 30 November because he plays his club rugby outside Wales.

Roberts hopes to figure after that although concedes he will not be around for the 2023 World Cup in France.

“They will have a way they see the game and the Wales team moving forward,” said Roberts.

“They will pick players to do a job and win Test matches in the short, medium and long term. Looking ahead to the short term of next year’s Six Nations and the World Cup in four years.

“I will concentrate on being a diligent professional and performing at a level which hopefully I feel good enough to play Test rugby.

“It is still a goal of mine and an itch at the back of my head. If that door is still open I will do everything in my power to charge through it.”

Warren Gatland on who he would pick in his Lions squad for South Africa 2021

Roberts admitted he had fallen out of favour under Gatland, but was inspired by what he saw in the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“It was pretty clear Warren made his mind up on me 18 months out from the World Cup and did not pick me and felt other players were best suited to the game he wanted to play,” said Roberts.

“That’s tough and difficult. I have always backed my own ability and still feel I can compete at this level.

“It’s just a case of when and if you accept defeat? When you watch the team play and you think you can contribute something to that side then it’s very difficult to accept defeat.

“It’s always kind of lingering in the back of your head. You feel you can offer something to that side that maybe other players can’t.

“I have never accepted defeat and that my time in a Welsh jersey is over. If anything, it motivates you.

“Am I going to be at the World Cup in four years’ time? Do I have a chance of that? Most definitely not.

“But when I watched this World Cup and saw players were putting in world-class performances at my age and above, that’s an inspiration for me.

“In my head I will never give up on the Welsh jersey, until my time is up.”

Bath’s European target

Jamie Roberts tackling Jonathan Davies during a pre-season friendly between Scarlets and Bath

Roberts hopes to impress playing for Bath in the Champions Cup which starts this weekend.

Bath begin their campaign against Ulster on Saturday, while they have also been drawn against Roberts’ old side Harlequins and Clermont Auvergne.

“It all starts with your performance at club level,” said Roberts.

“I am in a good side at Bath and enjoy playing in a high standard of rugby in the Premiership and you have the Champions Cup starting this weekend which is the big time in Europe.

“You know you are in the shop window and I will just give it everything I can. I still want to play rugby at the highest level for the next couple of years.”

Wales have suffered a major centre injury blow this week with Jonathan Davies ruled out for six months with a knee injury suffered during the World Cup in Japan.

Roberts and Davies formed a formidable midfield partnership that helped Wales win two Six Nations titles and a Lions series victory in Australia in 2013.

“I have my fingers crossed for him that he heals well and we see him competing at club and Test level as soon as possible,” said Roberts.



Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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