Discipline a worry for Roberts
February 28, 2011
Jamie Roberts has called for Wales to tighten up their discipline © PA Photos
Wales centre Jamie Roberts has called for an improvement in discipline prior to their Millennium Stadium clash with Ireland on March 12.
The 24-year-old midfielder raised the issue after Wales conceded 15 penalties on their way to a hard-fought 24-16 victory over Italy on Saturday, 10 more than the hosts.
With Ireland likely to punish any offences in kicking range far more regularly than Mirco Bergamasco did for the Azzurri last weekend, Roberts has demanded that his team-mates give nothing away.
"I was pleased with our performance, but frustrated at times. It was our discipline more than anything which let us down," he said. "We gave away too many penalties, some of them silly, to put ourselves under pressure.
"We conceded 15, which wasn't clever really. If we do that against Ireland we are going to be punished because we probably won't win the game. It could have cost us against Italy, and it is crucial we improve our discipline.
"We scored two good tries [by Morgan Stoddart and Sam Warburton], but didn't push on. Italy got their tries by pouncing on our errors. Their first came when we shipped ball along our line we shouldn't have done.
"Their second came when we tried to throw the ball around. We let them back in, and we certainly won't be able to do that against Ireland. We definitely need to raise our standards against Ireland. They've certainly got the players to punish us."
On a personal level, Roberts is approaching something like his best form after a long lay-off with a wrist injury. Coach Warren Gatland singled out the Cardiff centre for praise in the wake of their Stadio Flaminio win, their second consecutive away victory in this season's Six Nations.
"That was the most carries I've had in a game for a while," he said. "I was pretty disappointed with my own performance against England a few weeks ago. I wasn't proactive enough and didn't get the ball in my hands.
"I love carrying the ball - that's what I am about - and I think I am on the way to getting back to where I want to be. It feels so much better as a player when you get to carry, and that is what I love to do. The gainline is what I am about, and I certainly did that against Italy."
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