Wales' centre of attention Jamie Roberts will return to Test rugby against Argentina on Saturday after what he describes as "a very long six months".
The midfield powerhouse has not played for Wales since they clinched a second RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam of Warren Gatland's coaching reign last March. A knee injury, subsequent surgery and rehabilitation meant Roberts missed the three-Test summer tour to Australia, when Wales lost two games by a combined margin of three points.
"When you miss a campaign, a summer tour, it makes you appreciate it more and more. I can't wait for Saturday," Roberts said. "It has been a very long six months. My last memories I have in a red shirt are of walking around the pitch after the France game with the Six Nations trophy."
He went on: "Anyone who has had a cruciate knee reconstruction will tell you they are not very nice. You go to hell and back with the rehabilitation. It's tough.
"But rugby is tough. You have injuries and setbacks and you have to climb the mountain again. When you have a serious injury you start again from the bottom.
"I can picture what the changing rooms must have been like in Australia and I am sure the boys who were out there will use it as motivation for this autumn series.
"To go that close to a team like Australia in their own back yard will hurt the guys and hopefully we can do the job this autumn."
Roberts will win his 45th cap in a side shorn of injured quartet Jonathan Davies, Adam Jones, Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones, while interim head coach Rob Howley has opted to put France-based stars Mike Phillips and James Hook on the bench.
And the home side's degree of difficulty is increased by the fact that, unlike in previous years, Argentina have arrived on British soil following intensive preparation provided by their debut Rugby Championship campaign which featured home and away appointments with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
"Argentina pose a huge threat," Roberts added. "They are the most improved international team in world rugby over the last year. Their players will be looking to come to Wales and spoil the party. They will be raring to go and we are prepared for it."
- Sports & Recreation
- Jamie Roberts