Six Nations: Jamie Roberts demands Wales 'raise the bar' against Italy

Wales travel to Rome in the Six Nations this weekend

Wales centre Jamie Roberts wants the side to “raise the bar” at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

The reigning Six Nations champions beat France in Paris last time out to revive a campaign that would have been consigned to mid-table mediocrity, at best, had they lost to Les Bleus a week after going down on home soil against Ireland.

But that 16-6 victory has at least given them a fighting chance of retaining silverware, and Roberts has underlined the need to build on that success this weekend.

"England are in a strong position with two out of their three remaining games at home," he said.

"I would like to think the French will turn them over at Twickenham on Saturday.

"But we are still very much in with a shout. If we had lost last weekend it would have been different, but now we are one win from two and everything hinges on the next couple of games.

"Italy will be tough, but we will be ready. We know we need to raise the bar again.

"They run hard and tackle hard, and if you don't close them down they cause you problems. So first and foremost, our defensive effort needs to be at least as good as the effort in Paris."

The Paris clash was notable for being played out by two teams seemingly gripped by a fear of failure.

France had lost to Italy six days previously, while Wales were on a run of eight Tests without a win, but wing George North's late try ensured a memorable 50th Test match appearance for Roberts.

The win sparked emotional scenes in the Wales dressing room, highlighted by Roberts' tearful post-match television interview that reflected exactly what it meant to rediscover winning ways.

He added: "I would like to think that after getting the win we will go out and play to win.

"In Paris, it was probably a bit of a case of two teams trying to make sure they didn't lose.

"I have had stick from the boys (over the TV interview), but anyone who knows me knows I can get quite emotional.

"It was a combination of things - the pressure we had been under, the fact it was my 50th cap and the fact that I had seen players and coaches so happy in the changing room.

"It does get emotional, I'm a bit of a big baby, actually! But seriously, when you train hard and you lose it hurts, and then when you finally crack it - and in a place like Paris - it can have a deep effect on you.

"It was a rather alien feeling after the last 10 months, but that day was up up there among the best days I've had in a Wales shirt.

"It is important we harness the feeling we had after the game and have that desire to repeat it. The changing room afterwards was a special place.

"After you lose that many on the bounce and the pressure sets in, it snowballs. You can get into the habit of losing, but we built on the promise we showed in the second half against Ireland.

"It wasn't the prettiest of games. It was like playing with a bar of soap at times it was so greasy, but our defence was magnificent. We had that desire to put the tackles in and stop them playing.

"There was a lot emotion, and there was that release at stopping a losing run and winning out in Paris in the process."

Roberts has been part of two successful Wales teams in Rome, partnering James Hook in midfield two years ago and Gavin Henson two years before that, but Saturday will be his first appearance at the Stadio Olimpico.

Wales won 31-22 on their only previous visit, in 1996, when the line-up featured current interim head coach Rob Howley, skills specialist Neil Jenkins, Gareth Thomas, Scott Gibbs and captain Jonathan Humphreys.

And their Six Nations trips to Rome have often been far from plain-sailing, with Wales suffering defeats there in 2003 and 2007 and winning by more than 10 points just once.

"I remember four years ago it was very close, and that has been the case the last few times against Italy in Rome," Roberts said.

"Their win against France was special and showed that any team can beat each other in this tournament."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?