The 26-year-old Cardiff Blues centre is hoping to hear on 30 April that he has been selected for a second Lions tour, but before Warren Gatland pronounces he has agreed to set in motion a special match to commemorate the life and achievements of Dr Jack Matthews.
Like Roberts, ‘Dr Jack’ played for Cardiff, Wales and the Lions as a centre. Like Roberts, too, he also won a Grand Slam, in 1950.
The big kick-off will also have a link to both Dr Jack and Roberts, given that Lions suppliers Rhino have kindly donated match balls that will be used in the tourists’ opening game in Hong Kong on Saturday, 1 June, for the special occasion.
It has been less than a year since Welsh sport first mourned the passing of a man who was renowned throughout the world as the most ferocious tackler in the game, and fearless enough to have stepped into the boxing ring with Rocky Marciano for four rounds.
Thanks to the Welsh Academicals and Cardiff Medicals, two teams that Dr Jack was proud to have played for, everyone will now get a chance to pay tribute to the veteran of 17 Welsh internationals and six Lions Tests
“For me, Dr Jack is the ultimate role model for what he achieved as a Lion, doctor and soldier. If I emulate anything near what he achieved in his life then I’ll be a very happy man,” said Roberts.
“He was a very special person whom I was privileged to meet on a few occasions. I attended his funeral service and the tributes paid to him there made you realise what a legend he was.
“We all know about how tough a tackler he was, how he made so many tries for his great pal Bleddyn Williams and how good a player he must have been to win a Grand Slam with Wales and play in all six Tests on the 1950 Lions tour, but that is only half the story.
“He was a doctor for decades and he did a wonderful job in that role as well – the ultimate doctor, ultimate rugby player and even the ultimate boxer!”
The Welsh Academicals have picked a team that includes a number of British Army representatives, including two Fijians. Jarrad Williams will captain the team from No 8.
“Dr Jack was a hugely popular and respected rugby player and doctor and we felt a match between two teams he was very fond of, on his beloved Cardiff Arms Park, would be the perfect way to pay tribute to him,” said Welsh Accies secretary Denys Thomas.
“He captained the Accies against a New Zealand Army XV at Abercynon in 1945 and played for Cardiff Medicals before that, so the fixture is a perfect fit for the occasion.”
It promises to be a busy week for Pat Emanuel’s Cardiff Medicals side because they are due to defend their National Association of Medical Schools Cup title in Cardiff on Sunday, 21 April. It is the 19th time they have reached the final.
Welsh Academicals: Charles Corderoy (British Army); Ollie Turton (Uni of West Glam), James Cordy-Reddan (Uni of West Eng), Rifleman Jotame Nalewabau (5th Battalion The Rifles), Kieron Driscoll (Uni of West Eng), Owen Thomas (Uni of Glam), Joe Raikes (Uni of Glam/Pontypridd), Rhodri Hanmer (Swansea Met/Rumney), Thomas Owen (Reading Uni), Myles Davies (1 st Queens Dragoon Guards), Harrison Williams (Uni of Newport), Henri Williams (Loughborough Uni), LCpl Cabemaiwasa (Royal Scots Dragoon Guards), Stuart Worrell (Uni of Glam), Jarrad Williams (Bishop Burton College, Captain)
Replacements: Geraint James (Uni of Glam), Jack Williams(Cardiff Met), Ryan Oakes (Uni of Glam), Trystran Treharne (Loughborough), Ross Parsons (Uni West Eng), Huw Reeves (RAF Loughborough), Ben Cullen (Uni of Glam /Nelson), AN OTHER
Cardiff Medicals: Lewis Isaac; Duncan Meikle, Steffan Morgan, Steve Wiggill, Paul Bumford; Chris Edwards, Gian Luca Trisolini; Nick Willetts, Rhys Price, Ben Price, Ivan Anderson, Paul Smith, Mike Cooper, Pat Emanuel (Captain), Tom Hathaway
Replacements (from): Sam Trewick, Tom McAbe, Joe Arthur, James Brook, Liam Carroll, Harri Wilson, Ifan Patchell, Charles Close, Harry Wilson, Lawrence Smith, Dan Phillips.
* Entry to the game is £5 with a programme and Under 16 entry is free.