Jamie Roberts has been named the ‘Player of the Series’ following South Africa’s 2-1 Test series win over the British and Irish Lions. The Wales centre impressed on his first Lions Tour and formed an effective and strong centre partnership with experienced Irish star Brian O’Drsicoll.
Lions assistant coach Warren Gatland said: (quote) Jamie has been one of the most improved players on the tour. It has been great for him to play inside Brian, before Brian left for home I thanked him for developing Jamie so much. He just laughed and said ‘I hope he hasn’t learned too much’. (end quote)
The 22-year-old’s award is the latest accolade for a player who is only in his second season as a full-time professional. Roberts only won the first of his 12 Wales caps during last year’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign. The Cardiff Blues star played at full-back and wing before finding a home at inside centre for Wales, the position where he created an effective Lions partnership with outside centre O’Driscoll before the pair’s tour ended in injury.
Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll
It has been great for him to play inside Brian. Before Brian left for home I thanked him for developing Jamie so much. He just laughed and said ‘I hope he hasn’t learned too much’
Roberts became the youngest Lion starter when he lined-up in the first Test defeat in Durban. Roberts said (quote) This Tour has been a brilliant experience. I’m delighted to be named as the Player of the Series and I would like to dedicate this award to the hard work and effort put in by a lot of people in the Lions’ squad and management. (end quote)
The vote to find the Player of the Series was conducted by Lions sponsors HSBC in conjunction with the members of the British and Irish media who have followed the tour. Roberts led the voting, which was done after each of the 10 tour games, with England’s Simon Shaw second and Ireland’s Tommy Bowe third.
Though is is surprising that Rob Kearney did not feature, perhaps his heroics came to late in the day.