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20 Questions: Martin Roberts – Northampton scrum-half

Martin RobertsHappy with how Saints started the league season?

We were five wins from five going into last week and we’re still top of the league despite losing at London Irish, so that’s where we want to be at the end of the season.

How about your own season so far?

I was hoping to get a few more starts and a bit more game time, but it’s hard for coaches to change a winning team and I’ve got to just keep knocking on the door.

Must be tough having Lee Dickson in your way?

It is really. I think I’ve played really well when I’ve had the opportunity, but it’s up to the coaches who they pick and when you get the chance you’ve got to take it.

What more must you do?

I’ve spoken to Jim (Mallinder) about little things I need to work on.

Why did you leave Scarlets in 2011?

I fancied a change. I’d played all my rugby in Wales but Saints reached the Heineken Cup final and had a team that was building, so it looked like a good place to come.

James Hook’s a good friend, isn’t he?

I played a lot of rugby with Hooky in my younger days, starting with Neath College and then for Neath and the Ospreys. I won my first cap for Wales alongside him, too.

Against Canada in November 2008, wasn’t it?

That’s right. It was massive. It’s a highlight for every player to represent your country and I was chuffed to bits. It only sinks in when you’re not in the set-up anymore.

You played against New Zealand in 2009 as well… what was that like?

Growing up, New Zealand were always the best team in the world and I loved to watch them, so playing against them and then Australia were really good experiences.

Didn’t you nearly score against New Zealand?

Twice! Dan Carter caught me with a high tackle as I was closing on the line, and then right near the end Alun Wyn Jones and I went close before being dragged out. We lost 19-12!

Unfinished business with Wales?

I appreciate where I was then and where I need to get back to to push myself back into the Welsh set-up. I’m only 26 so hopefully there are opportunities to come.

Pre-match superstitions?

I put my socks on first, followed by my shorts and boots, and then I strap my wrists… in that order!

Teenage rugby idol?

Jonah Lomu epitomised the first rugby professional. The guy was a freak and I remember the 1995 World Cup well. That’s when I really started getting into rugby.

Another sportsman you’d like to be?

The life of a pro golfer looks pretty sweet, so Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods. It’s a tough sport, fairly individual, but they travel the world and enjoy the high life.

How do you chill-out?

I’ve just bought a golden retriever puppy called Sonny, who’s keeping me busy. I also enjoy playing my Xbox… FIFA, Call Of Duty, that sort of thing.

Enjoy cooking?

I try, but beans-on-toast is about my limit! Food-wise I love Chinese and my favourite drink is vimto.

Jokers in the Saints camp?

George Pisi is a character who always has a smile on his face and Paul Doran-Jones enjoys a laugh. But Ryan Lamb is the ‘Del Boy’ of the group. He’s always up to something.

Cleverest Saintsman?

Christian Day is probably the most intellectual player we have. He’s very studious in how he goes about the business of preparing for games etc.

Best and worst dressed?

Lamby’s the worst, no question. He’s an absolute tramp. Best is Stephen Myler. His girlfriend keeps him smart and he seems to pull it off with his dress sense.

Tell us something about Jim Mallinder and Dorian West we might not know?

We went to Jim’s house for a bonding session recently and it’s like something out of Cribs, the MTV show. It’s stunning. As for Dorian, he’s actually Welsh… from Ynysybwl!

Ambitions for the season?

To get more starts and for Saints to progress in Europe and the league. We want to finish top two in the Premiership and hopefully win the title.

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