Jamie Roberts: No need for motivation: This will
be magical, the ultimate challenge

The last two results have not been good enough and the pressure is growing

This is why I play rugby. As a kid you dream of playing for Wales and then you dream of playing for Wales against the All Blacks. This is it and it is awesome.

For any rugby union player there is something extra about this fixture. To put it simply, if you can’t motivate yourself to play this game then you are in the wrong sport – in fact you shouldn’t be in sport at all. The All Blacks are historically the best team in international rugby union. It is the ultimate test – you are going to be pushed to the limit in every facet of your game for 80 minutes. A chance to play against the All Blacks at home is magical. There is really no other word for it.

This New Zealand squad has such strength in depth they could play two world class XVs. There is so much experience in their side – Richie McCaw has over 100 caps, Dan Carter is not far off. So many of them have played at the pinnacle of rugby union for the past decade so there is leadership, coolness under pressure – these are great players, players who I’ve admired growing up. The chance to pit yourself against these guys, to challenge yourself to get the better of them is second to none. As a rugby union player, it is one of the highlights – the most enjoyable match to play.

It is as much a mental challenge as well as the obvious physical one. You are out there watching the way they play, the way Carter plays and you are constantly trying to second guess what they are doing. You have to be so sharp.  I’ve played against them four times. We went on tour in 2010 and had two Tests and I’ve played them at the Stadium twice as well – we lost all four but we played some good rugby against them.  To have a chance of bettering that record every single one of us has to be on the money today.

The only way you are going to challenge these guys is go out and play rugby against them. We need to impose ourselves physically and tactically. There is no point in holding back, kicking the ball and playing percentages. You need to be accurate, make them tackle, take it to them. Every facet of our game has to be spot on otherwise…

A key contest will be the gain-line battle. Whether we are carrying or defending, we have to perform better there. We didn’t do that against Samoa and it cost us. Every carry was a positive one for them while we struggled to get much front-foot ball , either due to poor set pieces or not crossing that gain-line with our carriers. We want to play on the front foot. If you watch New Zealand’s rugby they first of all make sure they play on the front foot – all of a sudden it’s an easier game. We have not done that over the last couple of weeks.

The last two results, against Argentina then Samoa, haven’t been good enough and with those two defeats the pressure on us grows. That’s what professional sport is like – you lose a couple of games and it mounts up. As a team over the last couple of years we have performed at our best when the pressure has been at its greatest. That’s when we have delivered in the Six Nations and in the World Cup and we need to do that now against southern hemisphere teams.

There has been plenty of criticism aimed our way over the last couple of weeks. I understand it, we all do, and can’t argue with much of it – there is a lot that is warranted. We criticise ourselves. Believe me nobody feels it more than the players.

We had a day off this week, a time to switch off and get away from rugby for a night. We know everything is about that 80 minutes this afternoon and you can’t afford to spend all week thinking about it – by the time you get out on the pitch you run the risk of having worried away all your energy. You can’t afford to carry that baggage from week to week, day after day. It’s the same during a game – if you make a mistake you have to shrug it off and not let it weigh down the rest of your performance. You keep smiling, you enjoy training and you should perform better – that’s no different to any job is it? If you enjoy it you are likely to do it better. It’s important to have a laugh, it helps everyone stick together.

It has been good to have Warren Gatland back this week. Warren is a huge part of the machine and has been great for us since 2008. For a player he is very honest. The guys like working with him and it’s been an awesome environment – which is what makes the end product, what we have done on the pitch, so frustrating for everyone involved. It’s been a good laugh this week – he’s put everything in place for this game.

Another key man back in place is having Jon Davies alongside me again in the centre. We have worked great together over the last couple of years. I couldn’t get out to Australia because of my knee and he’s missed the first two games so it’s great to be back together in red. He’s proved over the last couple of years that he is a huge asset.

Losing George North late on is another cruel injury blow but it gives a chance to Liam Williams. Off the pitch he is a bit of a joker, on it he chucks everything into every game. His commitment is all – and that’s a special attribute. He is deceptively strong, quick and good under the high ball. Certainly he will be challenged this weekend but he is more than capable of rising to this special occasion.

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's First World War footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during the war. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end