Jamie Roberts back for Cardiff Blues after injury lay-off

Jamie Roberts

Jamie Roberts has given Wales a boost ahead of the autumn Tests by being named in the Cardiff Blues squad to face Newport Gwent Dragons.

The Lions centre has returned from knee surgery ahead of schedule and is expected to be on the Blues bench for the Pro12 clash on Saturday.

"I am raring to go again and play again," said Roberts.

Roberts was due to return in October following the injury that forced him out of Wales' June tour to Australia.

The 44-times capped Wales centre originally picked up a knee problem in the Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro in November 2011.

He spent a further spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury during the Blues' 28-9 Pro12 win over Newport Gwent Dragons a month later.

He returned for Wales' opening game of the Six Nations, the 23-21 win over Ireland in Dublin in February, and played in the following four games as Warren Gatland's side secured the Grand Slam.

"It has been five and a half months, all in all, since the operation in April," said Roberts.

"It has been tough missing a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster and the three summer Tests against Australia.

"It has been hard sitting them out but it has made me hungrier to come back and I have worked hard with the physios and conditioning staff."

Roberts' return will be a major boost for Wales and Lions coach Gatland ahead of the autumn Test series against Samoa, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

Scarlets duo Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams began the three-Test tour whitewash by Australia as Wales' favoured partnership.

Osprey Ashley Beck overtook Williams in the pecking order for the second and third Tests while Beck's team-mate Andrew Bishop also made the tour, facing ACT Brumbies in a midweek clash.

But Roberts reveals his primary focus is taking his first steps back on the rugby field at Rodney Parade.

"It's a place that holds many fond memories for me," said Roberts

"As a kid growing up, my dad was a big Newport fan and he dragged us down there as kids up until I was about 15.

"I used to run on the pitch for Ceri Sweeney's autograph. It's a great place with a great crowd down there.

"They beat us down there last year and we owe them one."

The Dragons emerged as 28-16 victors when the two sides met at Rodney Parade, last season.