Jamie Roberts: Wales and British and Irish Lions centre retires aged 35
Wales centre Jamie Roberts has announced his retirement at the age of 35.
During a glittering career, Roberts won 94 Wales caps and played three Tests for the British and Irish Lions and finished his career with Waratahs in Australia.
“The time feels right,” said Roberts.
“As I reach the end of my professional playing career, I’m retiring with an immense sense of gratitude for what the sport has provided me.”
Roberts announced his intention to hang up his boots on social media.
“Having given everything in body and mind, the game of rugby has given me more than I could have ever dreamt of in return,” said Roberts.
“Our wonderful sport has impacted my life far beyond the white lines of the playing field.
“I guess its values have defined my attitude and approach to life and certainly shaped who I am today.
“It’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to thanking those who’ve influenced and helped my career.
“There are too many to mention, but in time, I hope I get the opportunity to share a glass and thank you all individually.”
Roberts made his international debut in 2008 and was converted from a full-back/wing into a centre later that year.
He was part of two Grand Slams and three Six Nations winning sides and the 2011 World Cup side that finished fourth before his final international in 2017.
Roberts was the Lions man-of-the series in 2009 in the 2-1 defeat by South Africa and played in the decisive Third Test victory over Australia four years later where he scored a try.
“Representing my country was always a childhood dream, I’m fortunate it became reality,” said Roberts.
“It meant the world to me and forever will. I’ll also never forget the immense pride of captaining my country.
“Singing the anthem had the same impact whether at home in Cardiff, away at some of the most iconic stadiums in World rugby, or during two Rugby World Cups.
“I’ll remember fondly reaching the pinnacle of representative rugby and touring twice with the Lions.
“The joys and despair I experienced on both tours amounted to nothing short of experiences of a lifetime.
“The rugby experience with the Barbarians, culminating in victory against the All Blacks also ranks high amongst my favourite weeks in rugby.
“I finish with some incredible memories and a heart full. I’m proud to finish knowing I found my calling at number 12. That battle on the advantage line defined me on and off the field.”
Roberts started his club career with Cardiff and played in five countries with stints with Racing Metro, Bath, Harlequins, Stormers, Dragons and Waratahs.
“It allowed me to experience several tight-knit club families, as well as enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in some of the worlds best cities outside of Wales; namely Paris, London, Bath, Cape Town and Sydney,” added Roberts.
“The playing experiences at each club were unique in their own way and I’m delighted that each environment provided opportunity to learn, improve and challenge myself; from my first game for Cardiff until my last for the Waratahs 16 years later.”
Roberts also had a balance outside of rugby. He graduated in medicine from Cardiff University in the summer 2013, going on to add a first class honours intercalated degree in Sport and Exercise Science.
Then came a stint at Queens College, Cambridge University, where he embarked on a Masters of Philosophy in Medical Science, while also playing in the 2015 Varsity match against Oxford at Twickenham.
He undertook that MPhil on a two-year, part-time basis, continuing his studies after moving on from Cambridge.
“I value dearly the opportunity the sport has given me to travel the world and expand my horizons beyond Wales, whether through touring or moving club,” said Roberts.
“Taking those strides to challenge myself outside my comfort zone, although daunting, provided the pressures I craved.
“Those pressures to challenge myself beyond the game also permeated to the lecture theatres and hospital wards.
“A sincere thanks to the staff at Cardiff University, UWIC (now Cardiff Met), Loughborough University and lastly Cambridge University, where achieving a Blue ranks among my proudest moments.”
Roberts intends to stay within the sport in a broadcasting role.
“There’s no doubt I’ll stay with the sport past retirement. Whilst I figure everything out, that’ll be predominantly in a broadcasting capacity,” added Roberts.
“My experiences in the game have indeed taken me to immeasurable highs as well as desperate lows, eliciting every emotion possible along the way.
“Above all, the game has provided a sense of belonging, friendship and healthy competition.
“I’ll miss the changing room, the matchday buzz and the aches and pains. I guess most of all I’ll miss the lads.
“I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside and against many of the modern day greats; not just great players but great men.
“To all those I’ve been fortunate to share the field with, it was a pleasure. For a short while, we have the best job in the world. Never forget it.”