#COVID-19: Welsh legend 'not too optimistic'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Veteran Welsh centre Jamie Roberts suspect he may already have played his last game in South Africa.
Roberts, 33, has decided to stick around in South Africa for a while longer, instead of returning home to Wales.
He said the ‘great weather’ and ‘good food’ played a role in his decision – despite all rugby having been suspended.
The 94-times capped Welsh international, who also played for the British and Irish Lions, will remain “as fit as possible”, should the season resume in the future.
However, he has his doubts.
“Whether we play rugby again this season remains to be seen,” Roberts said, adding: “I am not too optimistic, personally.
“As professional athletes we will train as well as we can, stay in good shape and when called upon to produce the goods again on the field we will.”
Roberts also put some perspective on the situation.
“It is a tough situation for everyone out there,” he said, adding: “As sports people, we are having to miss training and practice social distancing, but there are people dying which puts that into perspective.”
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Roberts remains in close contact with his family.
“It is going to be difficult for me to go home, because I wouldn’t be allowed back in South Africa with the laws that are governing flights coming into South Africa from high-risk zones, which the UK is.
“So that is challenging in itself, but we have Skype and I chat with my parents quite often.
“If anything, I wouldn’t want to put them at risk if I did fly home. My dad has just turned 70.
“The same applies to my partner as well. She wouldn’t want to put her parents at risk.”
The qualified doctor is leading by example in the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus.
He has made available his flat in Cardiff to the National Health Service.
He explained that given the increase in cancellations due to travel restrictions, he felt it was the logical thing to do and do his part to support the healthcare services that will be under increasing pressure in the coming weeks.
“A big deal has been made of it, but it isn’t a massive gesture really.
“I have got a flat in Cardiff and I had a few cancellations on AirBnB.
“This is a crucial time in the UK, the death rate is increasing and the number of infections is increasing at an exponential rate. You talk about flattening the curve and that is for the healthcare system, you don’t want the healthcare system to get overloaded.
“There are going to be NHS staff out there who will want to not be travelling from the hospitals back to their homes every night of the week, purely because of the fact that they don’t want to put their families at risk, because healthcare workers will be high-risk.
“I had a free flat and just offered it to the NHS really and it was great, managed to get a doctor in there on Friday, so it is about mobilising resources and I would encourage anyone else who has resources to do so.
“I’m sure there are loads of people out there who have properties who have had cancellations as well and if they have got a spare resource that they can help the health services with then the more the merrier.”
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