Wayne Pivac’s decision to overlook Jamie Roberts for his 36-man 2021 Guinness Six Nations has come as one of the biggest surprises after the centre looked to have worked his way into Wales contention again this season. The four centres that were used in the autumn have been recalled again – Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin. 

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That means the 34-year-old Roberts misses out on a chance of making 100 Test caps and returning to the fold after almost four years out. His omission has come as a shock to so many as there had been plenty of buzz surrounding Roberts this winter and his hopes of a recall, with many labelling him the form centre in Wales.  

When Pivac said that this Six Nations squad would be based upon form rather than building for the 2023 World Cup, it only seemed more promising for Roberts. Other long-standing Test teammates of his such as Rhys Priestland, 34, and Dan Lydiate, 33, were also given hope.   

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That is perhaps why his omission has come as more of a surprise to fans, former players and journalists. The only thing working against the 94-cap Wales centre is his birth certificate because a combination of his performances this season for the Dragons and his experience warrant a recall. 

The problem Pivac would have faced was choosing who to drop out of the four current centres, which would have proven to be equally controversial. 

A recall for Priestland was blocked by the WRU as the Bath out-half still hasn’t put pen to paper on a deal that would bring him back to regional rugby for the 2021/22 season. Lydiate, though, has worked his way back into the squad and can earn his first cap since November 2018. He too has shown the form this season with the Ospreys worthy of being selected. 

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Lydiate’s selection has come at a price for Shane Lewis-Hughes, however. Like Roberts, the Blues flanker was one of the most discussed omissions online. However, at the age of 23, he is eleven years the junior of Roberts, which perhaps makes it all the more astonishing he has missed out given how promising his autumn was in red. 

While Lewis-Hughes obviously has a long Test career ahead of him, Roberts will know that there will not be many more opportunities for a call-up. 

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