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Roberts coming to terms with international exile.

JAMIE Roberts has spoken candidly about finally accepting, nearly two years on, he may not play for Wales again.

The blockbusting centre won the last of his 94 Welsh caps against the All Blacks in November, 2017.

Despite showing some stellar form for Bath in the meantime the 32-year-old has never been able to add to his collection that also includes three appearances for the Lions in 2009 and '13.

But with squad announcements coming and going without a recall to the Welsh fold, Roberts realises there's going to be no fairytale finish to his Test career that the likes of Shane Williams savoured on his international swansong.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "You always picture having this awesome farewell, doing things on your terms.

"Test rugby is something I gave up a lot of my life for. I sacrificed a lot in body and mind to play that long at international level. And then bang, it stops. It's not your choice.

"The first six months to a year after I stopped being selected were difficult.

"I didn't feel like I could open up, just in the fear that I might say something that would count against me, because I felt I still had a chance, especially heading into this Rugby World Cup.

"Selection is out of your hands, and I respect that. Hadleigh Parkes has come in and done a great job in the 12 jersey, and Wales have done really well in the past 18 months, so I can have no complaints in that regard.

"While it feels tough in the moment, you have to take a step back and realise what you did achieve for 10 years.

"The frustrating thing for me is that I still feel I am good enough," he added.

"That is the only thing that nags me. I feel good enough to play Test rugby.

"But obviously, the coaching staff have gone in a different direction and I completely respect that decision."

Roberts will be heading to Japan for the World Cup, though. His Bath employers have given the centre permission to be part of the ITV team.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:355
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