Tuesday 19 March 2019

'It's frustrating when people don't see the work you do for the team' - Quinn Roux

Quinn Roux of Ireland during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland
Quinn Roux of Ireland during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland
Ireland second-row Quinn Roux is looking forward to his second Six Nations start against Italy on Saturday. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Quinn Roux is one of the few Ireland players who has been in and around the squad for a while now but hasn't always been given the platform that allows us to get to know him.

Instead, if you are inclined to take heed of the criticism that often comes his way, you are likely to form an unfair perception of who he is.

The softly-spoken 28-year-old is quite personable and succinct in how he gets his point across.

Whether it's his performances or the fact that he is a South African-born 'project player', Roux's face hasn't always fit for some people.

Yet, all the while his value to the team was questioned, Joe Schmidt has regularly picked him in his squads and not just for his scrummaging ability.

Roux recently became an Irish citizen at a ceremony in Killarney, which was always seen as the next step after he and his wife Rentus bought a house in Knocknacarra, just outside Salthill.

In these pages on Monday and Saturday last week, we highlighted Roux's performance against Scotland, particularly at ruck time, as his stats, which were off the charts, emphasised why Schmidt is a fan.

After all, it was the Kiwi who brought Roux to Ireland as a fresh-faced 21-year-old and although his time in Leinster didn't work out, he has since become a crowd favourite in Connacht.

The positive "publicity" has not gone unnoticed by the lock and he admits that it has made for a pleasant change compared to the stuff that is often written and said about him.

"It is frustrating. It is tough not to read the reports on games and people don't necessarily see the work you did.

"It's not the prettiest thing to look at - people hitting rucks - so that's not going to get attention that a really good ball carrier or a really good poacher over the ball is going to get.

"I guess it's all about the people in the environment who you work with that really appreciate that. And that's all that really matters.

"If there's a good bit of what you call publicity, coming out about that, you are never going to say no because it is not something that I would say people will go to the stadium and look at how many rucks someone has hit.

"It's the dirty work and someone needs to do it. I take pride in doing that and it's good to see that some people noticed it on the weekend."

The irony of the role that Roux finds himself playing in nowadays is that when he first arrived in Ireland from the Stormers, he was more of a ball-playing second-row.

As he explains, however, it is all about doing what is asked of you and given how much he freed up James Ryan against Scotland, it is easy to understand Schmidt's thinking.

"I guess it's just fitting into what the team wants from you. We have some world-class ball carriers in this team.

"So it's not that I don't want to carry the ball, it's just that I am fitting into a system and it's all about making the job easier for the guy next to you.

"If it takes cleaning out rucks for the whole day, I will do that.

"It's not necessarily that I am going out there chasing rucks and trying to stay away from the ball.

Effective

"There are a lot of rucks being hit but it's not necessarily the amount of rucks you hit, it's about how effective you can be.

"There were one or two that I could have done a better job that I didn't do, so the stats only tell one part of the story.

"I need to be a bit more effective in some of that stuff. There is always room for improvement and I am looking to do that.

"It's just trying to fit into the system that is best for the team.

Having applied for citizenship several years ago, the paperwork finally came through recently which allowed Roux to travel to Murrayfield a fortnight ago on an Irish passport for the first time.

"I've been given an opportunity and I will always be grateful for that," he insists.

"It's seven years that I've been here and sometimes I look back. I'm an Irish citizen now.

"I got my passport and it has been really good for me. I'm just trying to give as much back as I can on the rugby pitch and in this environment, especially in Connacht as well.

"It's life-changing. It makes a big difference for me and hopefully, for my kids one day.

"It's nice to be able to travel without visas and stuff. It's just another thing that I've been given here, which I'm really proud of."

Having been left out of Ireland's initial Six Nations squad, Roux has seized his opportunity through second-row injuries and he is expected to remain in the team for Sunday's clash against Italy.

There are no regrets about having fallen out with Matt O'Connor at Leinster as he can now call Connacht 'home', which helps make all the sacrifices over the years worthwhile.

"I've never played a game that my parents (Mark and Linda) have seen in Ireland," Roux adds.

"It's tough when the team gets named later in the week!

"That is one tough thing, seeing my parents once, twice a year, if I'm lucky. That is one of the sacrifices you have to make when you move away. 

"It is tough not seeing them. But we found a home here and we have to do the best we can.

"We love Galway and the people have been really good to us. Hopefully I can play (and later retire) in the new (Connacht) stadium someday."

Irish Independent

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