Harlequins are going to be competing at the top, says Roberts
Wales star delighted to join London club to challenge for silverware while studying at Cambridge University
Jamie Roberts believes that Harlequins will become a club competing at the top of the Aviva Premiership.
The 28-year-old Wales international’s move to the capital club from Racing Metro in the summer was confirmed this morning after months of speculation.
My desire to compete and win at both club and international level remains as strong as ever and the brand of rugby Harlequins play will challenge my skill set and no doubt help me improve as a rugby player.
Roberts is the latest experienced international snapped up for next season by the 2012 Premiership champions, who finished eighth this year after a disappointing season.
Having turned down the chance to return to Cardiff Blues, where he spent six years before moving to Paris, the British and Irish Lion is convinced that Quins are the right fit to keep improving as a player.
“I’m delighted to have signed for Harlequins,” Roberts said.
“Having played in Cardiff and in Paris, moving to London is a chance for me to experience and further develop my career in a different league.
“My desire to compete and win at both club and international level remains as strong as ever and the brand of rugby Harlequins play will challenge my skill set and no doubt help me improve as a rugby player.
“You look at the calibre of the Harlequins squad and the coaching set up; they are a team that are going to be competing at the top level year in year out and that was a huge factor in my decision to sign.
“I’m also delighted and feel very privileged to have been accepted to study a Masters degree in Medical Science at Cambridge University and look forward to furthering my education part-time alongside my professional playing career.
“That balance in my life has served me well in the past and I’m excited to start this new chapter in London.”
Despite the introduction of dual contracts in Wales and Gatland’s Law, which could see players outside of Welsh rugby miss out international selection, Roberts is expected to be released by Quins for all Wales commitments, similar to George North’s arrangement at Northampton Saints.
He is massively ambitious to achieve at both club and international level. As a role model to all of our players, he will be someone we can all learn from.
That contrasts to the stance taken by Gloucester and Bath, who have declined to release internationals Richard Hibbard, James Hook and Paul James for games and training camps that fall outside World Rugby’s international schedule.
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea admits that the club is ecstatic to sign 69-times capped Wales international and believes he can be a role model to the club’s young players.
“The whole club is ecstatic to have signed a player of Jamie’s quality,” O’Shea said.
“He is massively ambitious to achieve at both club and international level.
“As a role model to all of our players, he will be someone we can all learn from.
“We know we won’t see Jamie in the Harlequins jersey for a while yet, but when we do I know he will be a massive contributor to the history of this club, the development of our team and the development of young players like Joe Marchant and Harry Sloan.”
Already boasting several England internationals in their ranks, Roberts will be joined at the Stoop next season by former Wales colleague Adam Jones, former Australia captain James Horwill, Scotland winger Tim Visser and Samoan centre Winston Stanley.