Jamie Roberts, the crash ball king who ruled the middle of the Welsh rugby field with an intelligent authority for nine years, tells his private and professional story with candour and charm in autobiography Centre Stage. After a slightly overwritten introduction, setting up the heartbreaking end to Roberts’ international career, the autobiography moves chronologically from Roberts’ intriguing family background until we catch up again with the events of the intro.
It’s an effective bookending that makes much of Jamie Roberts’ outspoken views on player contracts and club level bureaucracy. He also doesn’t hold back in Centre Stage on the regional set-up in Wales or on his ignominious dismissal from Warren Gatland’s international squad. And it’s no wonder. All these factors contributed to Roberts missing out on extending his career to a full decade and 100 caps.
With the shelves smattered with Welsh rugby bios ready for Christmas, Roberts has done well to establish his own story and identity against captain Alun Wyn’s record-breaking career and Anthony Buchanan’s background as the last miner to play for Wales, to name only two. Roberts is the qualified doctor who went on to win two grand slams and a Lions tour but isn’t afraid to share his unique perspective, from the centre of it all.
Centre Stage, Jamie Roberts (Hachette)
Price: £20. Info: here
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
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