Roberts urges Wales to push on

Sat, 16 Feb 2013 10:39
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Centre Jamie Roberts has urged Wales to turn winning into a habit after kick starting their Six Nations campaign.

Centre Jamie Roberts has urged Wales to turn winning into a habit after kick starting their Six Nations campaign.

Wales put an end to an eight-match losing streak with the 16-6 victory over France in Paris last weekend.

Roberts admits he and his team mates were feeling the heat but after returning to winning ways he insists Wales must continue to build.

"The changing room after the game was a special place," said Roberts.

"After you lose that many on the bounce and the pressure sets in, it snowballs.

"You can get into the habit of losing, but we built on the promise we showed in the second half against Ireland.

"It wasn't the prettiest of games, it was like playing with a bar of soap at times it was so greasy, but our defence was magnificent.

"We had that desire to put the tackles in and stop them playing.

"There was a lot emotion, and there was that release at stopping a losing run and winning out in Paris in the process - it's not often Wales do that.

"It was a bit of an alien feeling. Bit now it's important we harness the feeling we had after the game and have that desire to repeat it. That starts this week in training and out in Italy as well."

Roberts was so overwhelmed by the victory over Les Bleus that he broke down in tears during a television interview and he has already been jokingly mocked by team mates.

"I have had stick from the boys, but anyone who knows me knows I can get quite emotional," said Roberts.

"It was a combination of things, the pressure we'd been under, the fact it was my 50th cap and the fact that I'd seen players and coaches so happy in the changing room.

"It does get emotional, I'm a bit of a big baby actually!

"But seriously, when you train hard and you lose it hurts and then when you finally crack it, and in a place like Paris, it can have a deep affect on you.

"Saturday was up there among the best days I've had in a Welsh shirt."

Wales are now one game into their triple-header of consecutive fixtures on the road.

They face the Azzurri and then Scotland before returning to the Millennium Stadium to take on England.

With a 100 percent record in the Championship, Roberts admits England are in the driving seat but he insists Wales will still have a major say.

"We have to make being on the road work for us," added Roberts.

"Playing away is more of a challenge than at home. Playing away is a special challenge, there are only little pockets of your own fans and you are swamped by the noise of the opposition crowd.

"It's always been at Stadio Flaminio when I played against Italy so this will be a new experience.

"I remember four years ago it was very close, and that's been the case the last few times.

"Their win against France was special and showed that any team can beat each other in this tournament.

"You never know that's why the Six Nations is so magical.

"There are injuries, differences in form, everything changes week by week.

"England are in a strong position with two out of their three remaining games at home.

"I'd like to think the French will turn them over at Twickenham!

"But we're still very much in with a shout.

"But we have to win at the Millennium Stadium and that England game will come around quickly.

"If we'd have lost last weekend it would have been different but now we're one from two and everything hinges on the next couple of games.

"Italy will be tough though, but we will be ready. We've seen what they can do against France and we are in for a tough week of training. We know we need to raise the bar again.

"The Italians are much improved and it's always massively physical.

"They run hard, tackle hard and if you don't close them down they cause you problems.

"So first and foremost our defensive effort needs to be at least as good as the effort in Paris.

"The focus will be on making it watertight and taking some steps forward with our attacking game - and there's definitely some scope for that.

"I'd like to think that after getting the win we'll go out and play to win. In Paris it was probably a bit of a case of two teams trying to make sure they didn't lose."

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Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0