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Roberts expects England match to settle title

Jamie Roberts believes that this weekend’s clash with England will settle the 2016 Six Nations title.

Roberts was also quick to admit that matches against England take on an extra importance for supporters on both sides of the border.

“You can already feel it’s a big week, we all love playing against England,” said Roberts.

“We know the stakes are high and as a team we feel we have delivered when the stakes are at their highest. Just think back to Twickenham in 2013 or the World Cup last year.

“I don’t expect England to lose against France if the grand slam is riding on it and I’d back us to beat Italy at home. So whoever wins this weekend probably wins the six nations.”

Since signing for Harlequins at the end of last year, Roberts is now a permanent resident behind enemy lines in Cambridge.

Playing alongside Mike Brown and Danny Care, as well as ex-England skipper Chris Robshaw every week, has given Roberts a new reason to get one over on the old enemy.

“The WhatsApp group will be hyping up as the week goes on I’m sure. It’s great to play against the guys who you play and train with every week at club level. The bragging rights certainly last a little longer.

“I share lifts with Chris Robshaw quite often and I think the way he’s come back from the World Cup exit has shown the character of the man.

“I spoke at his testimonial launch in January and I apologised to the crowd that it might not be as lucrative as it might have been after England’s World Cup exit. He took it well and quipped back at me,” said Roberts.

When asked about his club teammate and England livewire Mike Brown, the Welsh centre was quick to point out his winning mentality.

“He’s an amazingly passionate player and a bit of an angry man. He’s one of England’s really quality players, and if we don’t shut him down early then he will create problems for us.”

It goes without saying that when Wales take on England the pressure on the players is increased. Roberts is fully aware of the importance of Saturday’s match not only for bragging rights but in deciding the Six Nations Championship too.

“We love playing against England, it means so much to the players and fans on both sides. We know that even those not that interested in rugby will probably be watching us on Saturday.”

This weekend will be Wales’ first match back at Twickenham since losing to South Africa in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup and their first against England since their famous victory the week before.

Roberts is clear that playing at the home of English rugby holds no fear for him and his teammates.

“It’s an amazing place to play. Twickenham is certainly one of the great stadiums in world rugby. Most of us know what it takes to win there and the experience in our squad will help us when we’re on the pitch.”

With the championship expected to be decided in London this weekend, Roberts believes that it could be one moment that changes the match.

“One missed tackle, one penalty, one unforced error, it could be something as small as that to decide this match.”

Roberts was confirmed to start at centre once again this weekend, as Wales coach Warren Gatland named an unchanged XV from the victory against France.

Don’t forget to check out our new podcast where we look ahead to the Wales v England match here.

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