As he walks his canine Layla on the nook of Plasturton Gardens within the leafy Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, Jamie Roberts – each actually and metaphorically – stands at one other junction in his life.
He has been right here earlier than.
This time round, the previous Wales centre is swapping the dank drizzle of Welsh winter for the hovering temperatures of Sydney.
Australia is the newest cease for the globe-trotting centre as he continues a glittering profession which already taken pitstops in Cardiff, Paris, London, Tub and Cape City.
Wales legend Jamie Roberts has loved stints in Cardiff, Paris, London, Tub and Cape City
Wales caps: 94
Wales tries: 13
Wales honours: 2 Six Nations Grand Slams, 1 Six Nations title
British & Irish Lions caps: 3
British & Irish Lions tries: 1
British & Irish Lions honours: 1 sequence win (Australia 2019)
Golf equipment: Cardiff, Racing 92, Harlequins, Tub, Stormers, Dragons, Waratahs
Roberts has been and stays a tremendous participant. He gained 94 Wales caps and three with the British & Irish Lions, however his time within the sport has additionally at all times been about excess of simply the rugby.
There have been events with Daniel Craig, two reside on-stage performances alongside the Manic Avenue Preachers, round-the-world journey, and likewise 4 levels on the universities of Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan, Cambridge and Loughborough.
‘I am very lucky the dream continues to be taking place,’ Roberts, now 35, informed Sportsmail. ‘God is aware of when and the place it’ll end. I’ve at all times had a plan in life whether or not it is taking part in right here or doing a level there. Now I am at some extent the place I can get pleasure from life because it comes.’
Household causes lie behind Roberts’ newest enterprise. His Australian-born fiancée Nicole returned to the southern hemisphere on Boxing Day with the couple’s son Tom. The pair expect their second youngster in 2022 and having a community of household help down underneath will probably be vitally essential.
As he at all times has carried out, Roberts has taken the bull by the horns. He stays grateful for being allowed early launch from his Dragons contract. Tremendous Rugby and the Waratahs are subsequent.
‘After I met and dedicated to marrying an Australian woman, my life was going to take me there sooner or later,’ Roberts mentioned. ‘This can be a time in life we’ll by no means get again.
‘To have the ability to play in a distinct league and nation and add to my profession wherein I have been in a position to do a variety of journey already is the dream situation. The celebrities have aligned.
Roberts is getting ready to affix his household in Australia and play for Tremendous Rugby aspect Waratahs
‘I am going to need to show myself once more. To have the prospect to do this at this stage of my profession will probably be wonderful. I am not setting a date on once I wish to end, however once I cannot compete on the stage I wish to play at, I am going to knock it on the pinnacle.’
Born in Newport, Roberts began his profession with Cardiff the place he established himself as a key determine for Warren Gatland’s Wales. He gained Six Nations Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012, a Championship title in 2013, and performed in two World Cups. There have been Lions sequence in each South Africa and Australia.
At membership stage, Roberts has, unusually for British gamers, featured in each hemispheres.
‘I have been very lucky I’ve had some wonderful alternatives in good cities and on the proper occasions in my profession. The journey has in all probability been an important factor,’ Roberts mentioned.
‘Flying the nest is one thing not everyone seems to be comfy doing, however typically you must put that stress on your self to search out out what you are about.
‘If I might sat down at first of my profession and picked the place I might wish to play, I might in all probability have named the wonderful cities I have been to.
The 35-year-old takes his canine Layla for a stroll close to his dwelling in Cardiff this week
‘I performed with the Manics on the 2013 Lions tour and on the 2019 World Cup in Tokyo. In 2013, James Dean Bradfield textual content me and I did not inform anybody on the Lions in case they’d say I might slightly you did not.
‘I went and did it and handled the results after. The identical occurred in 2019, however that point I had seven or eight pints earlier than I went on stage. I went full rockstar!
‘You’re employed laborious for these kinds of alternatives. You both take them or you do not.
‘I do not assume it’s best to ever actually remorse something as a result of sport modifications so shortly, however I had an opportunity to go and play in Japan once I bought provided a two-year deal at Kobe.
‘I did not take it as a result of I used to be nonetheless striving to get 100 Take a look at caps, however it by no means occurred.
‘I do know it is somewhat bit morbid, however you by no means know when your life would possibly come to an finish. Staying true to my values, I am taking the Sydney alternative as a result of I see big worth in travelling with rugby.
He gained 94 caps, however his time within the sport has additionally at all times been about excess of rugby
‘Making an attempt various things has at all times appealed to me and if it entails journey too, then it is the golden ticket. The most effective issues about rugby is it is a world recreation.’ Roberts is evident in his view that whereas it’s not for everybody, broadening the thoughts off the sector – be it via journey or training – can profit rugby stars on it.
His viewpoint is at odds with the Welsh Rugby Union’s choice coverage ruling which suggests Wales stars should play for one of many nation’s 4 areas with a purpose to function at Take a look at stage except they’ve greater than 60 caps. Uncapped gamers picked first from outdoors Wales will be chosen, however should then return dwelling when their contract in England or elsewhere expires.
‘I have been sincere up to now that I despise the 60-cap rule. I believe it deprives gamers the chance to unfold their wings and develop as folks,’ Roberts mentioned.
‘I perceive why it exists, however Wales will at all times have sturdy gamers coming via.
‘I might like to see extra gamers go away Wales, expertise various kinds of pressures, and show themselves once more. The very fact lads are kind of blackmailed for his or her worldwide jersey for what’s an arbitrary variety of caps would not sit nicely with me.
‘I really feel passionately about this and it could profit Wales no finish if our greatest gamers might play overseas.
‘We must also be encouraging younger rugby gamers to go to school. Rugby needs to be within the enterprise of growing folks, not simply gamers.
Roberts performed in two World Cups and the Lions sequence in each South Africa and Australia
‘The extra well-rounded an individual is, the higher rugby participant they’ll change into. It is typically very laborious to quantify that, however that’s actually what I’ve discovered from my profession. Alex Dombrandt is an ideal instance. He went to school in Cardiff and have a look at him now.
‘You do need to deal with everybody in another way as a result of training is not for everybody, but when somebody does wish to go down that route, these in rugby’s positions of energy ought to encourage that.’
In years passed by, Roberts would have been getting ready for a Six Nations title bid now.
He added: ‘This 12 months I will get pleasure from watching it in a seaside bar in Manly at 2am!
‘I’ve to look at Wales reside. Wales gained the event final 12 months, however I believe a very good end result on this marketing campaign will probably be to win their dwelling video games. My greatest fear is the dearth of rugby the frontline gamers have had and there’s a lot of expertise lacking via damage.
‘However everytime you write off Wales, they usually pull it out the bag.’