Wales v Japan: Jamie Roberts on sleepless nights and being dropped

Jamie Roberts in action for Wales against Australia
Jamie Roberts has made three Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions
Under Armour Series: Wales v Japan
Date: Saturday, 19 November Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales centre Jamie Roberts has admitted to "a few sleepless nights" after his display in the 32-8 loss to Australia.

The 30-year-old was dropped to the bench for the first time since 2009 after coach Rob Howley said his defence was "not good enough".

Roberts has been restored to the starting XV to face Japan on Saturday, but remains his own fiercest critic.

"I can think of a few expletives to describe my defensive performance against Australia," he said.

"I just have to make sure that performance was an anomaly, and nothing more and nothing less than a bad day at the office.

"I've done a bit of soul searching and certainly there have been a few sleepless nights and you learn from it and I'm raring to go this weekend."

The British and Irish Lions centre will make his 85th appearance for Wales when he runs out against Japan in Cardiff and for the 46th time alongside co-centre Jonathan Davies.

It is that track record and his previously unassailable position as the go-to 12 for Wales that made his omission the biggest shock among the six changes for the 24-20 win against Argentina after the drubbing by Australia.

Jamie Roberts and Rob Howley
Jamie Roberts and Rob Howley during Wales training before the game with Japan

On being dropped

Roberts had no complaints about Howley's decision to leave him out.

"I walked off the pitch against Australia and I had a big inkling I wouldn't be in the team the following week because I knew I'd made mistakes and they're mistakes I don't normally make," added Roberts.

"I certainly didn't deserve to play last weekend and having spoken to Rob after the Australia game I fully respected his decision.

"It's a competitive squad here and you know if you don't perform you don't deserve to keep the jersey and that's been the way it was.

"As soon as I had the chat with Rob my responsibility was to help the team prepare and it's a bit of an alien feeling but one I've learned a hell of an amount from."

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Wales v Japan: Sam Warburton expects big reaction from Jamie Roberts

On redemption

The Harlequins player says he is happy to have a chance to play against Japan and is keen to confine to history a display against Australia he describes as a blip.

"I'm ready to go this weekend and again and stake my claim for that 12 jersey and try and keep hold of it," he said.

"It's not so much redemption but just to prove to myself that it was an anomaly.

"Quite a few of us didn't play well that day against Australia and I didn't deserve to keep the jersey.

"But it's not a shot at redemption, that would be selfish of me to say that. It's about Wales winning this weekend and it about playing my part in that."

Jamie Roberts makes a point to Keelan Giles during Wales training
Jamie Roberts (left) makes his 85th appearance for Wales against Japan, Keelan Giles is uncapped

On Keelan Giles

Roberts' selection is one of 10 changes Howley has made for the visit of Japan, who beat Wales the last time the teams met in 2013.

The centre missed that match as he was part of the victorious Lions team in Australia - scoring a try in the decisive third Test victory against the Wallabies as the tourists claimed a 2-1 series win.

He is among a group of experienced players including captain Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones, but the inclusion of uncapped 18-year-old Ospreys wing Keelan Giles on the bench has drawn as much attention as the starting XV. Roberts is a fan of the young prospect.

"I can't remember a player as evasive as Keelan since Shane Williams," he said.

"We've had a drill in training where they put us up against Keelan one-on-one and it's quite embarrassing actually, and he's a frightening prospect.

"His pace is frightening, he's very agile and he's got his head screwed on and he's very switched on and he's got potential to cause carnage and I hope he gets the chance."

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