Jamie Roberts: Leaving Cardiff is tough but nothing beats the red jersey of Wales

Millennium Eye: We want to take the next step – beating southern hemisphere sides

It is great to be back in a Wales shirt. Simple as that. It only takes a game away from the red jersey to make you appreciate it and realise how much you do value it. It means a huge amount to me. I have missed not wearing it.

Wherever I end up playing my club rugby, I still harbour very strong ambitions to play international rugby. That is the major driving force for me – as personal goals go it is a huge ambition, but I also feel it is the time in my life to experience something new.

My priority is to enjoy every day in life, to enjoy every day training or studying for my medical exams. I'm making a move in my career for a new challenge in life and there is nothing wrong with that. I will tell more of my reasons after the autumn because my immediate focus – as everyone would and should expect – is on this afternoon and then the games that follow Argentina.

Leaving Cardiff is hard – it has been a very, very hard decision and one that took ages to make. The decision is multi-factorial but I am sure I have made the right choice at this stage of my life. You have to weigh everything up and make the call when you think it is right.

Right now it is about playing for Wales again. I have been playing international rugby for five years but when that moment comes for the team sheet to be read out I still get nervous. After being out through injury, sitting there out of the picture, you do wonder whether you can get back in. It was a great feeling to hear my name read out – now it's time to justify my selection.

The build-up has gone well. You have to be able to separate what might be going on off the pitch with what is happening in training. I believe I have the ability to do that and a lot of it has come from my academic work outside of rugby, having to balance both careers. When I go to uni I completely switch off from rugby. When I get on to the training park or the playing field I divorce myself from everything else and everything outside rugby. That ability to flick the switch on and off is paramount in professional sport.

The last memory I have of wearing a Welsh shirt was when we paraded the Grand Slam trophy around the Millennium Stadium back in March. I missed those games in Australia and massively felt for the boys. It was heartbreaking watching it on TV. We came so close, losing one Test by a point and another by two.

But it can be a stepping stone. This squad is maturing and has improved over the last couple of years. Now we want to take the next step and that is winning against southern hemisphere teams. We toughened up with a week back in Poland. The squad needed that, a chance to sharpen bodies and minds in an environment away from home.

There are a few new faces around and it's great to see Aaron Jarvis get his first cap. He has put in some solid displays for the Ospreys and is a player who we need to come through with Adam Jones having played a lot of rugby. Getting that depth to the squad is so important.

With Jonathan Davies injured, I will be alongside Scott Williams in the centre today. Scott is one of the most improved players over the last couple of seasons. Certainly leading up to the World Cup, his speed of development as a player was pretty frightening. He came a long way in a short time and played very well at the World Cup. We have gone well in training this week but we will be judged on what we do in the Millennium Stadium this afternoon.

Wales' first fixtures in Gatland's absence

It is my first time back in the squad with Rob Howley in charge while Warren Gatland is on his Lions sabbatical. The coaching group under Warren, as far as the players are concerned, come as a team. Warren is at the head but the work Rob, Shaun Edwards, Robin McBride and Neil Jenkins do as a quartet is second to none. They have played at the highest level and coached at the highest level, they know what they are doing.

Will a Howley Wales lead to a gameplan noticeably different to Gatland's? I can't divulge too much! We are a team that likes playing rugby. There are a lot of talented players in the squad who thrive in being put into space and expressing themselves. It's finding the right way to do that. To get wins against southern hemisphere sides we have to play a bit smarter – there are times to play rugby and there are times to play percentages and we know if we get that balance spot on this autumn we will be in with a good shout.

But right now we are not looking past the first game – of course that's a cliché but it is the only way to approach any game at any level. Argentina are a strong, talented outfit who have played against the best sides in world rugby over the last couple of months in their first Championship. That intensity will have made them a much better team.

Jamie Roberts is a Wales and Lions centre

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering