Six Nations: Jamie Roberts 'raring to go' for Wales in Dublin

RBS Six Nations: Ireland v Wales

Venue:
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Date:
5 February
Kick-off:
1500 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC TV, radio and online

Jamies Roberts has warned Wales' Six Nations opponents that he is refreshed and raring to go following a five-week injury-enforced absence.

The British and Irish Lions centre was a doubt for Sunday's opener against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

But Roberts has recovered from a knee injury and will play in Dublin along with fly-half Rhys Priestland.

"It was pretty close. I got injured just before Christmas and it has been pretty touch and go," Roberts said.

"The first part of last week in Poland was rehab and I managed to get running towards the back end of last week.

"I'm feeling good, feeling refreshed and, mentally more than anything, raring to go after five or six weeks out.

"Fingers crossed, I can take that to the rugby pitch, like riding a bike."

Flanker Dan Lydiate has not recovered from an ankle injury, joining a Wales injury list that includes loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins, hooker Matthew Rees and the first-choice lock pairing of Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris.

However, Priestland has been passed fit, enabling Wales coach Warren Gatland to field the backline that was preferred at last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips partners Priestland at half-back, with Roberts at centre alongside Jon Davies.

"It was a relief. It certainly gives us a bit of continuity from the World Cup," Roberts admitted.

"Playing outside Rhys and inside Jon, we get on really well together and it's a good trio really.

"It'll be a big test for us out in Ireland against players who have been playing very well domestically this season, players at the top of their game.

"That hurt of losing that semi-final [8-9 to France] by a point will inspire everyone on and just knowing that we played some fantastic rugby out there.

"The core of the group is still the same from the World Cup, albeit missing a few players through injuries.

"For Ireland it's a bit of a revenge mission for them, but it's a clean sheet for everyone. The World Cup has been and gone and it's a new four-year cycle before the next one."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny and wing George North are also in place, with Alex Cuthbert the only new face as the Blues youngster makes his first start in place of retired wing Shane Williams.

"Alex is a pretty big boy and I'm delighted for Alex. He's a great guy and he's taken his opportunity with the Blues this season," said Roberts of his regional team-mate.

"He was only really with the academy last year and he claims he only started rugby a couple of years ago but I don't believe him!

"He's worked really hard in the gym. Physically he's very quick, he's very strong and he's come on leaps and bounds."

TEAM DETAILS

Wales: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; R Gill, H Bennett, A Jones, B Davies, I Evans, R Jones, S Warburton (capt), T Faletau.

Replacements: K Owens, P James, A Powell, J Tipuric, L Williams, J Hook, S Williams.

Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, F McFadden, G D'Arcy, A Trimble; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (capt), S Ferris, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, D Ryan, P O'Mahony, R O'Gara, E Reddan, D Kearney.

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