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Roberts ready for Nadolo test

Wales star Jamie Roberts has declared himself ready for the "man test" that awaits him in Saturday's heavyweight showdown with Fiji midfield powerhouse Nemani Nadolo.

Roberts, a midfield giant at 6ft 4in and more than 17 stone, will concede a height and weight advantage to opposite number Nadolo, who is rated among world rugby's most lethal finishers with 13 tries in 15 Tests.

Wales know that if they are to give themselves a winning send-off into next week's Millennium Stadium clash against world champions New Zealand, then stopping players like Nadolo and his midfield partner Vereniki Goneva at source is essential.

"Nadolo is a huge physical specimen," Roberts said.

"He is a rugby athlete, he's quick, he's 19 stone and that is the challenge.

"I have to take that as a personal challenge this week and make sure he doesn't get any go-forward for Fiji, because if he does they have got some very dangerous players. He can offload the ball as well, so that is my responsibility to the team this week.

"This guy will come straight at you. It's a bit of a 'man test' on Saturday. We have to front up, and I am looking forward to it."

Roberts delivered an often heroic display in defence when Wales were edged out by Australia last weekend, and he is ready for another punishing afternoon that will take an inevitable physical toll.

"There is always pain in international rugby. You have to put your body through it, and it's about preparing psychologically for that," he added.

"You just get your shoulders ready and get your mind prepared because international rugby is about the mind, it's about desire, it's about going through pain.

"You are in a world of hurt afterwards, but that feeling of pain after you've won is far better than after you have lost, I can assure you.

"Facing any player is daunting. On the international stage you're always a bit nervous, always on edge. The minute you stop being on edge is the minute it doesn't mean anything to you.

"I am nervous for every Welsh game, and you certainly look at this Fiji back line and they are frightening players. It's very hard to stop players of that size coming at pace.

"I've faced a lot of good players in my career, and probably none as big as him (Nadolo), but it's about utilising our strengths to counter his weaknesses. That's what international rugby is about, those one per cents.

"You analyse players - you look at their strengths, you look at their weaknesses - and we have to do that as individuals and as a collective."

Wales destroyed Fiji when the countries last met at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, but the two previous meetings produced a Millennium Stadium draw 13 months previously and a stunning 2007 World Cup victory for Fiji that knocked Wales out and cost coach Gareth Jenkins his job.

And with the All Blacks clash looming, Wales will target an optimum performance against Fijian opponents who are in their World Cup pool next year.

"It is about playing clever rugby," Racing Metro centre Roberts said.

"You know if you have a loose kick against these guys, that's what they love.

"They will chuck the ball from behind their own try line if they think they have a sniff. As a defensive leader, that's the message I will be trying to get across to the boys - complete focus and stopping them from taking quick tap penalties, quick throw-ins, that sort of thing.

"A lot of the times we play against the top southern hemisphere sides, and in their 22 they will play rugby with less risk and they will either kick out or kick long and it's about the percentages, whereas Fiji tend to throw it about from anywhere.

"That can work for them and work against them as well. We have to tip the scales the other way and make it work against them by pressurising them while in defence."

One Wales player under a particular spotlight will be starting fly-half Rhys Priestland, who was booed by a small section of home supporters when he went on as replacement for an injured Dan Biggar against Australia.

The boo-boys' behaviour was subsequently condemned by Wales head coach Warren Gatland, Wales defence specialist Shaun Edwards and Wales players, and Roberts added: "I will back Rhys all the way.

"He is a top player and a top friend, and ultimately, if he is being booed by the crowd, I will take that personally as well. I will feel like the whole team is being booed.

"He will be chomping at the bit, ready to go. He has never given less than 100 per cent in a Welsh shirt."

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