Jamie Roberts say Wales will be primed for Rugby World Cup

Jamie Roberts has no doubt that an extended preparation period will help Wales arrive at the World Cup later this year in prime physical and mental shape.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is set to announce a World Cup training squad in early June, then an intense build-up will feature training camps in Switzerland, Qatar and Poland, plus warm-up Tests against RBS 6 Nations champions Ireland (twice) and Italy.

“We work as hard as anyone in a World Cup build-up,” Wales centre Roberts said.

“We know when we get together for a long period of time, we are a very good team.

“I look back to the last World Cup in 2011 when we had that time together and we really worked hard in putting in the hard yards in terms of fitness. Technically, we know we are a really good side.

“Touch wood now, we pray the last few months of the season are injury-free for everyone. That’s the hope.

Wales wound up their Six Nations campaign by storming to a record 61-20 victory against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring eight tries to pile the pressure on title rivals England and Ireland.

And although Wales ultimately had to settle for a third-place finish on points difference, their impressive recovery from an opening day loss to England suggests they are good enough to qualify from a World Cup pool that also includes Stuart Lancaster’s team and Australia.

Gatland said: “It is one of the things we are excited about, having that time together before the World Cup to get us in great shape physically. We are not bad at the moment, but hopefully we will be a lot better by the time of the World Cup.”

Wales will undoubtedly reflect on their second-half demise against England as costing them a potential third Grand Slam of Gatland’s coaching reign.

Roberts added: “We have shown good mental strength and good ability to bounce back. Four wins out of five we are pleased with.

“We went out (against Italy), had a crack and scored tries. That’s what rugby is about.

“The great thing was the composure after half-time. We knew that the first half was going to be difficult, and the patience we showed was good. That is the sign of a mature side, mature players and a mature team.”

And Wales defence specialist Shaun Edwards is also relishing the World Cup challenge that awaits, claiming:

Italy scorers: Tries: Venditti, Sarto. Cons: Orquera 2. Pens: Haimona, Orquera.

ITALY: McLean, Sarto, Morisi, Masi, Venditti, Haimona, Gori, Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, Biagi, Furno, Minto, Bergamasco, Vunisa.

Replacements: Bacchin for Morisi (77), Orquera for Haimona (4), Palazzani for Gori (77), De Marchi for Rizzo (52), Manici for Ghiraldini (52), Chistolini for Castrogiovanni (52), Geldenhuys for Biagi (53).

Wales scorers: Tries: Roberts, L. Williams, North 3, Webb, Warburton, S. Williams. Cons: Biggar 6. Pens: Halfpenny 2, Biggar.

WALES: Halfpenny, North, J. Davies, Roberts, L. Williams, Biggar, Webb, R. Evans, Baldwin, Jarvis, Charteris, Jones, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau.

Replacements: S. Williams for Halfpenny (33), Priestland for L. Williams (74), G. Davies for Webb (71), Gill for R. Evans (53), Owens for Baldwin (55), Andrews for Jarvis (76), Ball for Charteris (76), Tipuric for Lydiate (55).

Ref: Chris Pollock (New Zealand).


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