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.
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.
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.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 20, 2021
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.
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.
Wonder how Pivacs phone call to Jamie Roberts went ?
He is by far the inform centre in wales, so to be not selected in the squad for being "Too Old" is not right.
Regardless of age if you are playing well then you should be in the squad.
— Lee Jarvis (@LeeJarvis10) January 20, 2021
If you’re picking on form, Jamie Roberts is way ahead of the centres selected by Pivac. He’s still doing the business, very unlucky. ?
— Nick Shelmerdine (@nshelmerdine) January 20, 2021
If Pivac can recall 33yr old Lydiate, then why not Jamie Roberts. Form centre in Wales and deserves a chance to get his 100th cap
— Paul Evans?????????????? (@paulevs29) January 20, 2021
I thought Jamie Roberts should have been called up, he’s the in-form centre in Wales right now. A bit disappointed there weren’t more changes to the squad, to be honest.
— Tomos Oakley ??? ?? (@oakley_tomos) January 20, 2021
Appreciate building for RWC2023 but @Jamiehuwroberts deserved his place at 12. We’re low on quality there and he’s been the standout player – at very least would help players develop in training, top professional.
— Michael Parker (@MikeParker_Brum) January 20, 2021
Shame @Jamiehuwroberts isn’t involved. Regardless of age or ‘looking to the future’, hes the best 12 on form. I prefer 12 & 13 offering different styles, but I’m not Pivac.
— Mikey Callow (@MikeyCallow) January 20, 2021
Would have picked Roberts he’s no spring chicken but he’s the in form 12 in wales at the moment
— SeannG (@RamblingCanines) January 20, 2021
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