Sunday 18 February 2018

Hot prospect Roux finding his feet out west after tough times in east

Extended run in team helping lock to restore reputation following injury-hit spell at Leinster

Quinn Roux is thriving at Connacht and has earned a two-year deal
Quinn Roux is thriving at Connacht and has earned a two-year deal

Daragh Small

After just eight months with Connacht, Quinn Roux has already matched the number of appearances he had in two years at the RDS.

But the 24-year-old South African lock believes that his time at Leinster changed him for the better, both on and off the field.

It was the first time that he ventured outside the confines of his home country and after 21 caps for both Leinster and Connacht he is starting fulfil the promise he showed back home.

"I had played four times for the Stormers and after my debut against the Bulls, my agent called me and said there might be an opportunity to go to Leinster for a year or so.

"At that moment I was coming back from injury and Eben Etzebeth was playing ahead of me, so I thought if I could go away for year and get some good game-time it would be good for me," he recalls.

"I was a one-man show in Dublin. I was coming over all on my own and it was first time overseas so it was daunting at the time.

"I learnt a lot through that, though. I think I grew a lot as a person as well but it was really easy to adapt after a few months at Leinster. The people around Ireland make it a lot easier.

"The lifestyle obviously changed a lot from living in Stellenbosch with a lot of students to coming to Dublin.

"You are living on your own and you're in a very professional set-up. You don't have a lot of close friends right at that moment to do any sort of social things.

"So it was very rugby focused in my first year and with all the injuries as well there wasn't time for a lot of stuff outside of rugby."

Roux was just 21 when he joined up with Leinster and it wasn't just the change of scenery he had to contend with: injuries played a big part in his stop-start career in the capital.

"In my first full week of training with them I rolled my ankle so I was out for about two weeks," he says.

"And then when I came back and we played Connacht up here in Galway I popped my collar-bone in the warm-up. So I ended up playing just ten minutes, and we lost the game.

"Then I was out for about three months and in my first game back, we played Glasgow away and I fell out of the lineout and I dislocated my shoulder. So I was out for another four months after that.

"It was really tough going especially when you've signed a one-year deal and you haven't been playing much, you're just injured all the time and it's hard to take."


But Roux had the potential to keep at it; he won a Currie Cup with Western Province in 2012 and made four Super Rugby appearances for the Stormers franchise before moving to the northern hemisphere.

Roux came to Ireland at a time when Connacht had signed his Stormers team-mate Danie Poolman.

"Eventually I got another two-year offer from Leinster - they showed loyalty towards me especially when I was after being injured the whole time," he says.

"I respected that and that's why I ended up staying there with them. I really enjoyed it and besides the injuries it was a really good time.

"At the start of this season I got the opportunity to come to Connacht for six months and get some much-needed game-time under my belt and that went really well for me personally.

"It's made my decision much easier to stay here for another few years."

Roux has quickly become a stalwart for Pat Lam's men and it came as no surprise when it was announced that he had been snapped up on a two-year deal that will keep him at the Sportsground until the summer of 2017.

The extra game-time he got in the west played a big part in his decision while his partnership with Aly Muldowney has begun to blossom.

"The game-time was what I needed and I hadn't had that in two seasons with Leinster, maybe that because of the injuries," he says.

"But I wasn't getting selected for certain line-ups and when I came here I played most of the games, I suppose the first 20-odd games and that really helped build confidence into my game.

"My partnership with Aly there is great. He's a bit older than me but he never likes me when I say that. But it's good to have someone with a bit more experience, especially with him running the lineouts as well, it takes a bit of pressure off my game.

"I only have to focus on doing what they want from me here so it's definitely good to have that partnership going."

Roux is enjoying life in the west of Ireland where he lives with his girlfriend Rentus, who moved over from South Africa to Galway in January of last year.


He becomes Irish-qualified in the summer but he is focusing on his provincial rugby for the time being as his reputation continues to grow.

"Game-time is vital and is always going to make you a better player. Everyone just made it so much easier to sign on for an extra couple of years here with Connacht.

"I'm delighted to have signed that new two-year deal and I'm looking forward to next few seasons," he says.

Irish Independent

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