JAMIE Roberts has admitted that the lack of an offer from Cardiff Blues led to him signing for the Dragons.

The 33-year-old Lions centre has signed for the Rodney Parade region on an initial one-year contract, returning to Wales after seven years playing in France, England and South Africa.

Roberts is an Arms Park legend after coming through the ranks in the capital and previously spoke about hoping to return to the Blues.

But money is tight and his old region, who have Willis Halaholo and Ben Thomas as options, were unable to offer a deal.

"It's no secret I spoke to those guys but ultimately there wasn't an opportunity there," said Roberts, who moved from Bath to the Stormers at the start of the year.

"I was in Cape Town at the end of March, coronavirus shut the country down and I was in limbo - being out of contract during a pandemic was not fun.

"I had a few options around the world to carry on my professional career and then I sat down with Dean (Ryan, Dragons director of rugby) and went through the squad.

Penarth Times:

"I've always wanted to come back to play in Wales before I hang up my boots, and I don't know when that will be. I certainly want to play for another two or three seasons if I can, and I feel good. I feel like I played some of my best rugby in South Africa.

"I met Dean and we went through the squad and the appeal to me is I think there are a few players in that squad who will be in contention for the Lions tour, there are a few players in that squad who are already established international players. And when I look at the rest of the majority of that squad, they're potential international players.

"There are young players who are maybe 20-25 per cent off being there or thereabouts. The appeal for me is, if I can harness those experiences of playing around the world, playing in some of the top leagues in the world, and contribute to the growth of those lads.

"Dean spoke about me being at a certain point in my career and it's probably not something I would've thought about when I was 22 or 23.

"But I'm 33, I've been fortunate to achieve a lot of what I've set out to in this game, and nothing would please me more than seeing those other lads do that. It's exciting."

Penarth Times:

While Roberts is looking to help in the development of those wanting to push into the international set-up, the 94-times capped centre hasn't given up hope of earning a recall.

His last cap was against New Zealand in the autumn of 2017 but Wales are not blessed with a glut of options at 12 after Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Williams both opted to accept lucrative moves to Japan.

A return to Test rugby is a long shot but Roberts wants to give Wayne Pivac a selection headache by performing strongly in the PRO14 and Champions Cup.

"If my face fits, the way I play the game fits with how Wayne wants to play and I'm playing well, he's got my number. I don't think it's ever been any different," he said.

"I felt like I was playing some of my best rugby in South Africa – it gave me a new lease of life, Super Rugby.

"The game was different to the northern hemisphere, so hopefully what I've learnt there I can harness that and bring it back to the Pro14 and Champions Cup.

"On the international front, I can't tell you whether that ship has sailed or not. What I will say is the team that won the World Cup had a 12 in a similar mould to myself (South Africa's Damian de Allende).

"The direction Test rugby heads in the next few years, we'll see what Wayne wants to do."