Knee surgery puts Roberts out of Australia tour

Blow to Cardiff's Heineken Cup chances as Wales centre will be missing for six months

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The Independent Online

The Wales centre Jamie Roberts is to have surgery on his injured knee and will miss the remainder of the season. The British and Irish Lion is expected to be out for six months and will miss Wales' three-Test tour of Australia in June.

"The decision has been made to have an operation on the anterior cruciate ligament later this week," he said. "It will mean a minimum of roughly six months away from the playing field."

Cardiff Blues centre Roberts suffered a recurrence of a knee injury during the Blues' 31-3 Pro12 defeat at Glasgow last Friday. He originally picked up a knee problem in the Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro in November.

Roberts spent a further spell on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury during the Blues' 28-9 Pro12 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons in December. He returned for Wales' opening game of the Six Nations, the 23-21 win over Ireland in Dublin and played in the following four games as Warren Gatland's side secured the Grand Slam.

His absence is a blow to the Blues ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final away to Leinster on Saturday. The news comes a day after the club sacked Gavin Henson for misbehaviour on a flight from Glasgow.

"First and foremost, I'm pretty devastated to be missing this weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final, our biggest match of the season," said Roberts. "It's a match I've been looking forward to for a long time but, unfortunately, my body hasn't allowed me to be a part of such a huge occasion for us as a region.

"I originally injured my knee in Paris playing against Racing Metro after returning from the World Cup. With the fantastic help from the medical staff at the Blues and Welsh Rugby Union, I was able to rehab my knee well enough to get me through a handful of games for the Blues and the successful Grand Slam Six Nations campaign.

"However, following my injury in the match against Glasgow on Friday I've been advised by the knee surgeon that my knee is now not stable enough to continue playing and potentially risk further injury to the knee.

"I suppose it's a chance for me to get my body fully right for what is a huge season for both club and country, with a certain carrot [the Lions tour of Australia] at the end of it too. It will also allow me to continue my focus on the final year of my degree in medicine and the finals I'll be sitting next March."

The England centre Riki Flutey is to quit Wasps at the end of the season to return to his native New Zealand. The 32-year-old is likely to have played his last game for the club, as he is expected to miss the rest of the campaign with an ankle injury. Flutey is also expected to pursue a career in Japanese rugby.

"My wife and my three kids will first be returning to New Zealand and she is expecting our fourth child this summer," he said. "I just want to take this chance to say thanks to Wasps for being so supportive and understanding of what has been a tough decision to leave."