Roberts grateful for Baa Baas exposure
December 6, 2009
Barbarians centre Jamie Roberts takes on the All Blacks' defence during Saturday's clash at Twickenham © Getty Images
Welsh centre Jamie Roberts believes he will be a better player for his experience with the Barbarians that culminated with an historic triumph over New Zealand at Twickenham.
Roberts was the only British player in a star-studded starting line-up that included six Springboks but the British & Irish Lions international played a pivotal role in the select side's 25-18 victory - only their second ever victory over New Zealand and first since the fabled clash of 1973.
The 23-year-old Cardiff Blues star described the whole experience as "amazing" and thanked his club for releasing him and his team-mates Andy Powell and Leigh Halfpenny for the clash.
"The Blues released the three of us and I'm sure not many clubs in Britain would do that - especially with the Heineken Cup coming up," he said. "It's been one of the best weeks of my life. It's been amazing.
"Playing with guys who are that skilful is only going to improve my game individually. Hopefully it will improve my range of skills. You pick things up from other players and I'll go back to Cardiff a better player with more confidence - you can only achieve so much in training.
"It was a bit surreal and strange playing with the Springboks after what happened with the Lions, but rugby's a game where you can do that."
Roberts revealed the Barbarians were inspired by meeting some of their famed predecessors who prevailed 23-11 against the All Blacks. And Wales centre hopes yesterday's result will offer some consolation to his father Norman, who was forced to miss the 1973 showdown.
"May Dad told me before I joined up with the Barbarians that he had a ticket for the 1973 game but couldn't go it because of work commitments," he said. "It's his greatest regret in rugby not going to a match that has been labelled the best ever game. Hopefully I've done him some justice with this win.
"He wished me well before the match and I'm really chuffed to be part of this. We watched the 1973 match and had a meeting with a couple of old Barbarians on Friday night - Derek Quinnell was one of those there.
"He was involved in that try by Gareth Edwards so it was a privilege to meet him. There were some pretty special tries in that match and we've now added to that collection."
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra