Roberts: Hurting Wales ‘need to make a statement’

Jamie Roberts believes it is “hugely important” that Wales make a statement when they tackle the world’s top team on Saturday.

The current formbook suggests another punishing day at the office for Wales, who have suffered successive defeats against Argentina and Samoa during a painful autumn series. This week’s Millennium Stadium visitors New Zealand, meanwhile, are on a 19-Test unbeaten run and have not suffered defeat by Wales since 1953.

“It is hugely important we make a statement,” said centre Roberts, who will win his 47th cap and be reunited with last season’s World Cup and Six Nations midfield partner Jonathan Davies.

“We hope people will see the best of us this week. Nobody is hurting more than the players. It is frustrating because of the high standards we have set ourselves over the last 12 months.

* New Munster signing CJ Stander looks set to make his debut against Scarlets this weekend. The dynamic 22-year-old is likely to be thrown into the starting line-up after Tommy O’Donnell picked up an ankle injury against Leinster in the ‘A’ interprovincial clash.

WALES (v New Zealand, Millennium Stadium, Saturday)

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James (Bath), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Perpignan), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), G Jenkins (Toulon), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).

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