This led Wales coach Warren Gatland to hand the then 21-year-old the No.12 jersey for the next clash with South Africa despite Roberts having not played at centre since his school days.
And although Wales again fell to defeat Roberts' career was moving in the other direction and 12 months later he was back in South Africa, this time with the British & Irish Lions.
Roberts will return to South Africa with Wales this summer with 58 caps to his name and as a victorious British & Irish Lion - and the 27-year-old admits he can't wait to touch down.
"I just remember [last time in South Africa with Wales] Shaun Edwards sitting me down and saying we want you to play centre on the weekend," Roberts told the South Wales Evening Post.
"I had gone on tour as a full-back/wing, looking back it is amazing what has happened in the six years since.
"It is a great place to play rugby, a country who are passionate about the game. I have been fortunate to have toured there with my school, with the Blues, with Wales and the Lions.
"It is a great rugby nation, but a pretty unforgiving place as well, as we found in 2008.
"They are one of the top sides in the world, but it is a tour the boys are looking forward to."