Wales v Argentina, November 10
Edwards backs Roberts to stay focused
ESPN Staff
November 9, 2012
Wales' Jamie Roberts celebrates as he runs in for the opening score of the clash with Fiji, Fiji v Wales, Rugby World Cup, Waikato Stadium, Taranaki, New Zealand, October 2, 2011
Jamie Roberts will line up at inside centre for Wales on Saturday © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Shaun Edwards | Jamie Roberts
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Teams: Argentina | Wales

Wales coach Shaun Edwards is adamant that Jamie Roberts will not be distracted by rumours regarding his domestic future when he lines up for the national side against Argentina on Saturday.

Roberts will win his 45th cap against the Pumas and he confirmed yesterday that he will leave the Cardiff Blues at the end of the season with the centre widely tipped to be joining Racing Metro. The timing of the announcement came just two days before the Argentina match and Edwards has backed the centre to shine at the Millennium Stadium come game day despite the off-field furore surrounding his future.

"He is very focused," Edwards said. "I don't know when he decided not to sign but obviously it has come out publicly over the past week or so.

"But players of that stature are used to people talking about them in the newspapers. He has been a British Lion, he has been a player of the series for the British Lions, so he is used to the attention and I am sure he will want to go out there and play his best for Wales on Saturday, I know he does."

The match will see Roberts pulling on the Wales jersey for the first time since the Six Nations Grand Slam-clinching win over France in March. He has been sidelined for the past six months with a knee injury and has only played seven games for the Blues this term.

He missed Wales' tour to Australia which saw them return without a Test win to their name, despite being fancied to upset the Wallabies, and Roberts admits that while it has been tough watching on from the sidelines, there is a desire in the camp to put down a marker over the coming weekends.

"When you miss a campaign, a summer tour, it makes you appreciate it more and more. I can't wait for Saturday," Roberts said. "It has been a very long six months. My last memories I have in a red shirt are of walking around the pitch after the France game with the Six Nations trophy.

"Anyone who has had a cruciate knee reconstruction will tell you they are not very nice. You go to hell and back with the rehabilitation. It's tough. But rugby is tough. You have injuries and setbacks and you have to climb the mountain again. When you have a serious injury you start again from the bottom.

"I can picture what the changing rooms must have been like in Australia and I am sure the boys who were out there will use it as motivation for this autumn series. To go that close to a team like Australia in their own back yard will hurt the guys and hopefully we can do the job this autumn."

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