Roberts is back in action
Jamie Roberts is hoping to make his European Cup debut for new club Racing Metro 92 against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.
Jamie Roberts is hoping to make his European Cup debut for new club Racing Metro 92 against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Wales and British and Irish Lions centre was laid low with an ankle ligament injury only three games into his new career with the French club and was forced to miss not only their opening three games in Pool Four, but also the whole of Wales' year-end intentional campaign.
Racing kicked off their European season with a home win over last season's European Cup runners-up, ASM Clermont Auvergne, and then forced a draw at the Scarlets in Round Two. But they fell from grace in Nantes last weekend as a resurgent Harlequins ended their losing run with a 32-8 triumph.
The two teams meet again on Sunday and the return of Roberts could be just the tonic Racing need to get back in the hunt for a quarterfinal place with a revenge victory.
"I'm really looking forward to putting my boots back on and winning with this team. I was just starting to find my feet on the pitch, beginning to pick up all the calls and so forth, and to get injured at that time was a real blow," said Roberts.
"But as tough as it has been, I have tried to look at it positively. Over the past three or four years, I have played a lot of rugby - it's been pretty much non-stop, so the only way to look at my injury was as a rest in disguise."
Roberts watched the heavy defeat in Nantes and was as frustrated as any of the Racing players, coaches or fans who made the trip from Paris to the west coast. As he was quick to point out, the fans deserve much better.
"It was a huge disappointment for everyone. We were beaten in all sectors of the game and we all know it's not acceptable," he said.
"It's hard for me to talk about it because I was not on the pitch, but with the quality of the players we have got our fans deserve better. As a player, there are things I'd like to say but I don't have the right yet because I was not playing.
"I just hope I can bring something positive as soon as this weekend. I am ready to go again."
Roberts has a 100% record against Harlequins in the European Cup having won all three games against them with the Blues. On his last visit to the Twickenham Stoop he scored two tries in a 45-20 win.
"Harlequins are a very talented team which plays at a very high rhythm and puts opponents under huge pressure. The Stoop is a place where you can feel the tradition of rugby, playing in the shadow of Twickenham, and it is wonderful to play rugby there," said Roberts.
"Plus, as a Welshman, I love to play against English teams - the rivalry brings out the best out in me. I really hope I will be on the team sheet on Sunday.
"We have to go there with belief and trust in ourselves - it's the only option. We cannot afford to go there and not be in that state of mind.
"You could see last weekend that at times our offensive potential can be huge and that our gameplan is getting better. But we have to be more precise, we have to defend better and stay focused in our minds.
"It's as simple as that - stay focused and make the right decisions at the right time. With a bit of luck we will be able to show what we are truly capable of."