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Roberts relishes partnering Davies in Six Nations opener

CENTRES Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies will be paired together for the 40th time when the RBS Six Nations kicks off on Sunday.

Due to Wales’s injury woes, Roberts was paired with four different midfield partners during the World Cup. Davies’s return will give a boost to the squad as well as adding stability and experience to the Welsh midfield.

Jamie Roberts ahead of Sunday's game at the Aviva Stadium

Jamie Roberts at today’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s game in Dublin.

Roberts said: “I’ve played a lot of rugby with Jon over the years. He’s come back in and he’s bouncing about the place.

“It’s important that myself and Jon as senior players set the standards and help to develop younger players.

“We set ourselves high standards and the responsibility lies on us to drive the standards.”

Davies’s knee ligament injury ruled him out of last year’s World Cup campaign but Roberts said the Scarlets-bound centre has had a good month with Clermont.

After the World Cup, Roberts took some time out of the game himself. “If anything it’s made me hungrier and happier,” he said.

Since Roberts joined Harlequins last summer, he has worked on different aspects of his game.

He said: “I’m looking to improve my passing game and kicking game and playing that expansive style of rugby.

“That’s one of the reasons I opted for Harlequins in my career move.

“I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment. That step away from professional rugby has really made me appreciate it.

“You can only be the best at your job if you love what you do.”

His studies at Cambridge University allowed Roberts to play in the Oxford and Cambridge Varsity game in December.

Roberts enjoyed the more relaxed environment in preparation to the Varsity game. He said how some of the lads would turn up late after lectures but joked he didn’t miss training as he didn’t attend lectures.

The Wales centre hopes he has four or five more years left to play. When it comes to training he says he has to “box cleverer” to take care of his body.

Looking ahead to this Six Nations campaign, Roberts said Wales have been working on becoming more clinical.

The 29-year-old said Wales create chances all over the field but have struggled to show it on the scoreboard. “You look back over the last few years and our inability convert those chances into tries has let us down somewhat,” he said.

Roberts warned against Ireland “if you’re not on top of your game you’re second best”. Gatland’s men lost 26-3 the last time they visited the Aviva Stadium for the Six Nations  in 2014.

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