Friend 'proud' of his Ireland stars as another opportunity knocks for Roux
Quinn Roux said that his prime focus after being left out of the Six Nations squad last week was to continue to play well for Connacht and be ready if an opportunity arose.
And the 28-year-old, who captained Connacht for the first time in their 33-27 comeback win against Bordeaux Begles, got his opportunity much quicker than expected when he was drafted into the squad by Joe Schmidt yesterday morning following the injury to Munster's Tadhg Beirne.
The South African native is now spending this week in warm-weather training camp in Portugal with Ireland rather than at the Sportsground preparing for Connacht PRO14 game away to Cardiff Blues.
"Look, some you win some you lose," Roux said was his reaction when he wasn't included in the Irish squad last week. "I just had to make sure I play well and hopefully would get my next opportunity. All my focus was with Connacht."
Roux produced a stunning display in Bordeaux which he crowned with only his third try in 91 appearances as Connacht booked a Challenge Cup quarter-final spot with Sale Sharks.
And while Roux may have been disappointed to be initially left out of the squad, he had plenty of advice for newcomers Tom Farrell, Caolin Blade and Jack Carty, who were selected along with Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane.
"We're really proud of them so hopefully they can get some opportunities in the next few weeks and show what they can do on the biggest stage."
Roux, who won the last of his eight caps in November when he scored his only Irish try in the win over the USA, said being asked to captain Connacht last week was a huge honour.
"It was a really, really massive honour for me and especially then getting a win away from home in France. The lads showed some great character and I'm really proud to be able to lead a team like that."
Now Roux, who made his Irish debut against his native South Africa in the 2016 tour, becomes the sixth Connacht player to be drafted into the Irish squad to begin the defence of the Six Nations.
Connacht coach Andy Friend said Roux showed his quality by leading the side to victory in France on Saturday.
"It was Quinn's first time as the run-on skipper. He's a great leader, a man highly regarded and respected within the squad and he always does a good job.
"We are really proud of all these boys to get that call-up for Ireland," added Friend.