Wales star Jamie Roberts knows from first-hand experience that professional sport can be a "pretty brutal" existence.
Mentally and physically, Roberts has been through the mill this year. There was the high of a Six Nations title and Grand Slam last season, but also crushing lows that included a serious knee injury, being knocked out against Argentina and seeing Wales suffer six successive defeats prior to tackling Millennium Stadium visitors Australia on Saturday.
"It is a complete rollercoaster," Roberts said. "I remember being 18-19 years old at the (Cardiff) Blues and Martyn Williams (former Wales flanker) saying to me what a rollercoaster of emotions rugby is. And that hasn't rung more true than this year, really. You go from a high to a low, and in professional sport it's pretty brutal."
Wales' autumn of discontent has so far produced successive losses to Argentina, Samoa and the All Blacks - scoring just three tries and conceding eight - while also being hit by a crippling injury list.
A series that began three weeks ago ends with Wales unable to call upon George North, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Bradley Davies, Aaron Jarvis, Richard Hibbard or Josh Turnbull. Roberts is still standing despite suffering concussion against the Pumas and then being forced off in the All Blacks clash due to a hip injury.
"It's just bad luck," Roberts added. "When I was knocked out against Argentina it was completely bad luck, then last Saturday it was bad luck again. When you take a knock around the hip it is completely disabling.
"If you have a knock on your shoulder or knee you can kind of run it off, but I couldn't run that one off. It's the ups and downs of the game. I took a nasty knock to the hip bone and I just couldn't run. I was totally gutted, especially after only lasting 20 minutes against Argentina. It was hugely frustrating on a personal note.
"Not being a part of that second-half performance last week was frustrating. It was the best we've played this autumn."
Roberts will be back in the thick of it on Saturday, winning his 48th cap in a game that Wales know is not beyond them despite their recent travails.
He said: "Our second-half performance against New Zealand was where we want to be. We need to harness the energy of that and reproduce it for 80 minutes this weekend."
- Sports & Recreation