PA Sport

Jamie Roberts is confident Wales can learn from tough to take England defeat

Roberts confident Wales can learn from England defeat
By PA Sport

16/03/2016 at 16:04Updated 16/03/2016 at 16:33

Wales will return to RBS 6 Nations action on Saturday after experiencing what centre Jamie Roberts has described as "one of the toughest losses."

Victory over Principality Stadium visitors Italy would secure a runners-up finish, but the title is already England's, with a Grand Slam to follow if they beat France in the final game of this season's tournament.

And while Wales should encounter little trouble despatching Six Nations wooden spoonists Italy - the Azzurri have lost all four games, conceding 157 points and 20 tries - their Twickenham torture of last weekend still hurts.

Although Wales clawed things back to a 25-21 final scoreline, scoring two converted tries after England prop Dan Cole had been sin-binned, their first-half no-show - 16 unanswered England points and 19 missed tackles - left title hopes in tatters.

"It was one of the toughest losses, certainly," Roberts said. "There is no hiding away from that, and the players are desperately disappointed.

"It's a tough one to take, losing to England and they've won the championship. Huge congratulations to them, and best of luck to them in Paris.

"You have to learn from disappointments. In fact, you learn more from disappointments than winning.

"That's sport. You don't win all the time, and credit to England, they played a better rugby match than us.

"We have to learn from it, take the loss on the chin, face the music, roll our sleeves up and play well this week against an Italian side who will be determined to turn around their (58-15) loss away to Ireland.

"It's a new week, and we are fortunate to play a sport and do a job where we can rectify things and right a few wrongs.

"We are playing for second place now, and that has to be our goal going into the last week. It would be much nicer to be playing to win the tournament, but it wasn't to be.

"We had a meeting on Monday, spoke about England and that has been put to bed."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made four changes for the Italy clash, handing starts to wing Hallam Amos, scrum-half Rhys Webb - his first since suffering a World Cup-ending foot injury against the Azzurri last September - lock Luke Charteris and flanker Justin Tipuric.

The absentees include three injured British and Irish Test Lions - Alex Cuthbert, Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton - as Wales target a 10th successive win against Italy, which they should achieve with a considerable amount to spare if they reproduce their Twickenham second-half display when England were outscored 21-9.

Roberts added: "There are so many variables, and as players a lot of us have been scratching our heads as to why we didn't turn up in the first-half.

"It's hard to put a finger on why, but I am not going to make excuses. That's not what we are about. We are not going to point at loads of little things.

"Ultimately, we lost a game of rugby, and they played better than us. That's the black and white of it.

"We scored some nice tries, but we have to go out and impose ourselves on the Italians. Traditionally, it has taken us 50 or 60 minutes to crack these guys.

"Last year, we won the game (in Rome) by 41 points, but were more or less level at half-time.

"We have to box clever and play correctly, but we played some good stuff in the last 20 minutes against England, and hopefully we can repeat that from the off this weekend."