Bristol Rugby fly-half Tristan Roberts delighted to take his opportunity to impress
TRISTAN Roberts was delighted to take his opportunity to impress for Bristol in their British & Irish Cup trouncing of Cardiff. But the 21-point fly-half said the imminent arrival of Nicky Robinson had not changed his approach or increased his desire to succeed.
Bristol confirmed last Thursday that former Wales No 10 Robinson would be joining them this summer, with head coach Liam Middleton claiming he would compete with Adrian Jarvis for the starting spot.
But Roberts, who is out of contract this summer, delivered a timely reminder that he is still around by scoring a try and eight of his nine conversions in Bristol’s 61-12 win on Friday.
Asked whether the imminent arrival of Robinson had inspired him to deliver the goods against Cardiff, Roberts said: “That’s not really how I approach the game. It’s always important for me to play well, especially when I haven’t played for a while.
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“It was important to me to put on a good show myself but that sort of stuff doesn’t affect how I approach a game.
“With the squad we’ve got, there are people chomping at the bit all week to play. Maybe some of them, like myself, haven’t had as many chances in the league.
“But the cup is that chance to really prove yourself, so you’ve got a lot of hungry players who want to prove a point and put in a good performance.”
Bristol swept Cardiff aside with ease, scoring nine tries to their Welsh visitors’ two, with Roberts missing his final conversion attempt of the evening for a perfect nine from nine display.
And despite scoring 21 points, he was disappointed not to covert from out wide for a perfect kicking display.
“It was annoying – and it was surprising how many fans mentioned it as I walked round the pitch at the end!” he said. “It would have been nice but I’ll have to be happy with eight out of nine.
“I get a lot of stick about my lack of tries. Before I came here, I used to score them, but they’ve seemed to dry up. So at least I can walk round my house and the changing room with a bit more pride now, having scored a try.”
Bristol needed one point against Cardiff to progress to the quarter-finals, while any kind of victory would have sealed a home tie.
Bristol, who are seeded third of the eight qualifiers, will now host Leinster A in the last eight on Sunday, April 7, with a 3pm kick-off.
“Back in pre-season, it was a target on a slide on the projector – a home quarter-final,” said Roberts, whose team won all six of their Pool One games.
“It’s been a long way and some tough games along the way, so it’s nice to achieve that goal.”
Bristol have confirmed they will be offering their season-ticket holders special ticket prices for the clash with Leinster’s second string, starting at £2 for under-16s, provided they buy them by Friday, March 15.
Adults can guarantee their place for £10 in all terracing areas and the South Stand, or £20 in all seating areas.
Tickets for under-16s in standing areas and the South Stand are £2, while the cost in all seating areas is £5.