Wales 17-10 Samoa, Rugby World Cup, September 18
Roberts pleased by 'ugly' win
September 18, 2011
Wales centre Jamie Roberts proved far too strong for the Samoans to contain © Getty Images
Jamie Roberts admitted that there was nothing remotely pretty about Wales' 17-10 victory over Samoa in Hamilton on Sunday but insisted that that was of no concern to the centre or his team-mates.
After suffering an agonising 17-16 defeat by South Africa in their Rugby World Cup opener in Wellington last weekend, Wales went into the game knowing that another loss would end their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. They appeared in real trouble after finding themselves 10-6 down at the break but Warren Gatland's men showed impressive composure and resilience in turning the game around with a try from Shane Williams.
"In the first half, I think we lost the battle at the breakdown," Roberts said. "They (Samoa) seemed to target it, and we weren't good enough in the contact area and we kept losing the ball.
"Maybe in that first half we also tried to play a bit too much. That is always the danger, certainly when the sun is out, and I suppose we were guilty of that.
"We came out for the second half and we knew it was going to take a big defensive effort. They are pretty big guys, the Samoans.
"There was some great goal-line defence from us, and not to concede a point in the second half was a pretty special effort. We won ugly, but it was a win.
"It's a bit of the opposite to last week, to be honest. It wasn't a champagne performance by a long way, but the win was vital.
"As soon as the final whistle went last week, the preparation for this game was all about winning. That was all that mattered."
A week after his barnstorming display against the Springboks, Roberts again provided Wales with plenty of drive and incision in midfield. Indeed, many believe that the Cardiff Blues ace is now playing as well as he was when he starred for the British & Irish Lions in 2009. However, Roberts has grown weary of the media's obsession with his performances in South Africa.
"I am fed up with people asking me about the 2009 form, it's not about that," he said. "It is about taking each game as it comes and just enjoying it. I am enjoying playing with a smile on my face and just doing my part for the team.
"Samoa certainly fly with ball in hand. They are really powerful guys, but our fitness showed in the last 20 minutes, which was pleasing.
"There was no panic at half-time. We had just conceded a try, but we had spoken about it in the week that we might have been down by a try.
"They are a good side - you are not going to put 30 or 40 points on them - and we regrouped at half-time. We wanted to play a direct, good territorial game, and our defence was very strong. Defensively, we can take a lot out of it."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes