Jamie Roberts: Centre reluctantly accepts Wales career could be over – BBC South East Wales

Jamie Roberts says Covid-19 means he might not be paid once rugby starts in South Africa.

Jamie Roberts has admitted his Test career could be over as he does not expect to be called up by Wales again.

The 94-cap centre, who also won three caps for the British and Irish Lions, remains available for selection.

But the 33-year-old does not think his country will pick him again, saying “most definitely not, I doubt it”.

“I was in favour for a long time and then suddenly you’re out of favour, that’s the way sport is,” Roberts told BBC Sport Wales’ Scrum V podcast.

“But it’s important to look back and be very grateful for what we did manage to achieve, rather than ‘I’m a few short of 100’.

“It does motivate you, and it still does. I still feel I’m playing good rugby, I’d love to wear the red jersey again, but you just come to appreciate that selection is an uncontrollable.

“You play as well as you can; there are some great, great players who play brilliantly who just haven’t been picked for Wales and I’ve been very lucky in my career to have done it 94 times.”

Roberts, who is a qualified doctor and is volunteering with the NHS during the coronavirus crisis, made his debut against Scotland in the 2008 Six Nations, when he was selected on the wing.

But after switching to centre he went on to become one of the best players in the world in his position, being named the man of the series in the Lions’ 2009 tour to South Africa.

He last played for Wales in November 2017, winning his 94th cap against New Zealand in Cardiff.

“It was very difficult. You’re in the side for nine years, 10 years and then – bang – you’re not. It’s tough… I’d been involved in every Test campaign from when I was 21 to 31,” Roberts said.

“It’s hard being told ‘right, we’re going with someone else’, especially 18 months out from a World Cup because that was a goal, to play in a third World Cup.

“I see it in a different light now but when you’re in that, as any player will tell you, it’s really frustrating and tough to take.

“I’m a realist as well, watching that (2019) Grand Slam in Cardiff was amazing – I was doing commentary that day – and the World Cup as well.

“It’s not so much closure – that’s probably the wrong word as I still have Test ambitions – but it was kind of, well that’s that World Cup cycle and I’m not involved in that, so c’est la vie.”

Roberts came through the ranks at Cardiff RFC before going professional with the Cardiff Blues regional side.

He went on to play for Racing 92 in France, Harlequins and Bath in England and Stormers in South Africa, also fitting in a stint at Cambridge University where he played in the 2015 Varsity Match.

Although he is not yet ready to hang up his boots, Roberts says it would be a nice touch to be able to do that having played for the Blues once more.

“I’m a bit of a rugby romantic and traditionalist, I think the thought of my career coming full circle is an attractive one. We’ll see, we’ll see,” he added.

*Listen to the full interview with Jamie Roberts on the Scrum V podcast, available here on demand.

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