Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

We owe the jersey a performance, says Wales' Jamie Roberts

Published 16/06/2016

Jamie Roberts was embarrassed by Wales' display against Chiefs
Jamie Roberts was embarrassed by Wales' display against Chiefs

Jamie Roberts says the Welsh players owe "the jersey and the fans" a performance in Saturday's second Test in the wake of Tuesday's humiliation in Hamilton.

The Harlequins centre came on in the second half of the 40-7 defeat by the Chiefs and wants to try to make amends for that by beating the All Blacks in Wellington.

The world champions won the first Test 39-21 in Auckland last weekend, but only after Wales had led up to the hour mark.

"I was happy to pull on the Welsh shirt again on Tuesday night, but obviously not very glad to be part of that team which lost. It was quite an embarrassing defeat and an embarrassing performance," admitted Roberts.

"There is always pressure, certainly coming off the back of a loss. And coming off the back of Tuesday we owe the jersey a game, there is no doubt about that.

"The lads who wore that jersey on Tuesday let the jersey down. I was part of that squad and it wasn't good enough. We owe the jersey a performance and certainly the Welsh fans, especially those who have travelled out to New Zealand, a performance.

"The nature of these things is you have to dust them off pretty quickly, get on with it and we are playing the All Blacks on Saturday. You can't dwell on it for longer than half a day and as soon as we landed in Wellington all eyes were on Saturday."

Roberts will have one of his former Cardiff Blues team-mates, and fellow Glantaf School alumni, Rhys Patchell in the back line at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday night after Warren Gatland opted to switch Liam Williams to the wing and introduce utility-back Patchell at full-back.

The only other change in the starting XV sees Luke Charteris take over from Bradley Davies in the second row.

Davies drops to the bench at the expense of Jake Ball, while Rhys Priestland takes over from Gareth Anscombe among the replacements.

Roberts is backing Patchell, who is leaving the Blues this summer to ensure he can play at outside half in the future at the Scarlets, to make the grade as a makeshift full-back three years after he won the last of his two caps in Japan.

"I played with Rhys at the Blues and he thoroughly deserves his place in the starting XV and his shot on this stage - playing against the World Champions in their backyard in only his third cap," said Roberts.

"It is a great opportunity for him and he has all the attributes to play at No 10 and No 15. For Rhys, it is a no-pressure game - he just needs to go out and play what he sees.

"He is an instinctive player, from what I have seen over the last three seasons, and he has all the attributes to be a fantastic rugby player - he is a fantastic rugby player - and he has what it takes to stay in the Welsh jersey for a long, long time.

"He is going to do a sterling job for us at full-back at the weekend, no doubt about that."

While Patchell will be making his first start for Wales, and his first appearance at full-back, his opposite number Israel Dagg will join Ben Smith, who has been switched to the wing in place of Julian Savea, in winning his 50th cap.

The only other change to the All Blacks side is in the second row, where fit-again Sam Whitelock takes over from Luke Romano.

Head coach Steve Hansen has yet to lose a game on home soil and many are predicting a walk-over for the world champions after their five-try triumph at Eden Park. Hansen is not so sure, though.

"Wales are hurting right now and that makes them dangerous. Whatever we were going to get will be coming at us in double spades," said Hansen. "We are going to have to match that. They'll front up in a big way on Saturday."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph