South Africa native keen to tour with Ireland, but only after positive end to Connacht season
The Big Interview: Quinn Rous
When Quinn Roux went down and clutched his right ankle on Cardiff's 3G surface in December, he got flashbacks of the dreaded spate of injuries that destroyed his stint with Leinster.
Shortly after his move to Connacht, the 25-year-old picked up an ankle syndesmosis on his left foot in 2014-'15, but this time his other leg had suffered the high-ankle sprain.
However, his one saving grace was he knew what awaited him during his rehab. Past experiences made Roux a stronger person, and he came back from his latest knock, better than ever.
The Pretoria native was called up to Ireland camp prior to their Six Nations clash with Scotland, and he also got to experience life under Joe Schmidt in last weekend's two-day outing with the extended Irish squad.
As Connacht's season continues to grow from strength to strength, and with stalwart lock Aly Muldowney on his way out next season, Roux looks set to have a big future at the Sportsground.
But right now the South African wants to push for a place in the Connacht starting 15, and in the summer he aims to be a part of an Ireland tour to his home country.
But he cannot help feeling that he lost ground on his direct competition when he first suffered a broken nose, and then on his first game back, a sprained ankle.
"When you get those injuries you always think about what's going to happen next, you always start questioning, will I get back soon enough, how bad is it actually.
"You just have to get through it and focus on the positive things. You have to get back fit as quick as possible," Roux says.
It was a measure of how far Connacht have come as a team that they were able to do without Roux for last weekend's comprehensive 35-14 victory over Munster.
He has made his 32 appearances for Connacht and featured in their recent Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Grenoble. It was disappointing to be knocked out of Europe, but Connacht's season isn't over.
Neither is the South African's. And he is delighted with the work of the Connacht strength and conditioning staff who made that possible, and helped him get back on his feet.
"The rehab went very well. Everything went according to plan and the guys helped me get back on target. It was in the time-frame we were planning. The previous ankle injury I had was with Connacht as well, so the rehab was similar. I knew what had to be done to make the ankle better.
"The latest injury happened in Cardiff. My foot was just very awkward in the way it came down. I thought, 'Nothing good is going to come from this now'. It was a very big blow.
"I was just back off a four-week injury where I broke my nose against Edinburgh. I had to get surgery on my nose that time as well. And then in my first week back for that to happen, it was a big blow."
Roux missed 11 fixtures after he damaged his ankle in the Round 9 tie on December 4. It was a busy period for Connacht and they suffered as several front-liners got injured. But as players like Roux returned, Connacht began to come out on the right side of the results again, and everyone is delighted with how things are shaping up at this stage, so late in the season.
"It was pretty disappointing getting the injury before a big run-in of games. But it's always good to get back before the end of the season, especially the way the team has been going.
"It's going to be an exciting couple of weeks ahead and hopefully I can get a couple of games in and end the season on a high.
"It would be unreal to get into the play-offs. But it didn't come easily, we have worked really hard through this season.
"Every result we got we deserved, and hopefully we can continue on with the work we have been doing through the year and get the results," he says.
He has in own personal ambitions for the summer after the club season ends, but just like any of his team-mates they refuse to let international selection cloud their judgement when playing in the green of Connacht.
This season's success has been built on the foundation of teamwork, and selfless tactics. The man in the best position gets the ball and confidence has grown as everyone trusts in each other's skill-sets.
The international call-ups have followed and after having five players on the field at once for Ireland against Italy, Connacht had six representatives in last weekend's mini-training camp in Meath - Roux was one of them.
"Hopefully it will be a long summer for a few of us. It would be a great honour for me to return back home to South Africa with Ireland and make my debut.
"At the moment I am not focusing on that I just want to help Connacht as a team and we can take it from there.
"The way we have been playing this season, with a few lads getting the call-ups for the Irish squad. It just shows you, if you perform well for your club you will get the recognition you deserve.
"Especially players like Matt Healy, playing well all season, it's well deserved for him."