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Roberts revels in O'Driscoll link

Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts congratulate each other after a try
Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts congratulate each other after a try

Jamie Roberts hopes to renew his centre pairing with Brian O'Driscoll after the duo combined superbly as the British and Irish Lions beat the Golden Lions.

The Welshman could partner the Ireland legend in the Tests with South Africa after two tries in the 74-10 walkover.

"He's a world-class player and for a guy like me, growing up watching Brian carve up teams, it is really special to play with him," said Roberts.

"He's a good guy and talks very well on the pitch, which is fantastic for me."

O'Driscoll, at 30, is eight years older than Roberts but paid tribute to the Cardiff Blues back after a productive outing for both players.

"We haven't trained together for a huge amount of time but he is a big, powerful guy who takes some stopping," stated O'Driscoll.

"He runs some great support lines and I look forward to trying to develop that relationship."

Jamie Roberts is playing with a smile on his face and he's full of excitement

Former Lions centre Scott Gibbs

At 6ft 4in and 16st 9lb Roberts is well equipped to handle the ferocity of the Springboks challenge and could follow in the footsteps of fellow Welshman Scott Gibbs.

Gibbs was at the fulcrum of the successful 1997 Lions in South Africa and believes Roberts is playing with an old head on his young shoulders.

"He talks about himself being a young player and I can just empathise playing alongside Brian O'Driscoll but he played like a real mature player," Gibbs told Radio 5 Live's Lions Special.

"I think when you look at his contribution on Saturday [in the 37-25 win over the Royal XV] and certainly against the Golden Lions for half an hour or so, he had zero defects in his game.

"I thought his support lines, his fades and his running off the ball created certainly the first try.

"But there is lots of rugby to go and I'm sure he'd love the chance to play again on Saturday because he's playing with a smile on his face and he's full of excitement."

It is likely that Roberts, having started both tour games so far, will be rested for Saturday's clash with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

But despite revelling in some of the Lions' play on Wednesday, Roberts said the squad must improve every time they take the field.

"The boys are really pleased to finally play and really click as a team and play some really attractive rugby," added Roberts.


"We won't celebrate too much, obviously there's a lot - we'll look at the video - to work on, especially maybe our attack in that second half.

"We've got to play for the 80 minutes and be a bit more ruthless but we'll take the moment and be delighted.

"At times there our support play and running lines were world class in the first half, we scored some fantastic tries.

"Against any defence those support lines are going to cut teams to shreds but our defence shone through in the second half, especially with a couple of interception tries.

"The team that goes out Saturday against the Cheetahs needs to raise the bar again."

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see also
Golden Lions 10-74 Lions
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Lions call up Ireland back D'Arcy
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Vickery keen to make Lions point
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O'Driscoll to lead new-look Lions
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Halfpenny joins Lions squad in SA
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Lions in South Africa photos
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Jeremy Guscott column
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2009 Lions: Squad & results
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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Rugby union positions guide
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