Ex-Stormers lock in Irish squad


But the big man from Pretoria didn’t return from Dublin and now, around four years later, he will feel that he might the right decision to remain in the north after he was included in the Irish squad on Wednesday for the three-Test tour of South Africa.

The 25-year-old Roux nearly didn’t make it, though, as a nightmare two years at Leinster was afflicted by a number of injuries. He eventually found his way to Connacht, and has been in top form this year, which saw Ireland coach Joe Schmidt call him up to spend a few nights in camp with the national team during the Six Nations in March.

New Zealander Schmidt was the Leinster coach who lured Roux from the Stormers, where a long queue of locks that included Eben Etzebeth, Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt and De Kock Steenkamp meant that he didn’t get much game time as a 21-year-old.

Then-Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said at the time that Roux was “has played very well and I am actually okay with this because he is coming back to us in a year’s time, he has only signed a year’s contract.

“By the end of May next year we should have a Quinn Roux who has played a lot of rugby with experienced locks which will be good for his development.”

So how ironic isn’t it that Roux could now make his Test debut for Ireland against Coetzee’s Springbok team at his old Newlands home ground on June 11…

Roux hasn’t played in a Test yet, and is likely to be the understudy to the towering Devin Toner (2.10m) and Donnacha Ryan in the Irish second row.

But Roux will be joined by two established former South Africans in the Irish squad, loose forward CJ Stander and hooker Richardt Strauss. Former SA Under-20 captain Stander made his Test debut against Wales in the Six Nations this year and was voted as the Man of the Match.

Strauss – the cousin of Bok hooker Adriaan and brother of former Sharks centre Andries – used to play for the Cheetahs, and has won 16 caps since 2012.

But Schmidt won’t have a number of top players in his 32-man group on tour, including prop Cian Healy, flanks Peter O’Mahony and Sean O'Brien, wing Tommy Bowe and fullback Simon Zebo.

“Touring South Africa will be arduous to say the least, so we’ve attempted to prioritise players who are currently as close to full fitness as possible,” Schmidt said in a statement.

“In what is always a difficult balancing act, we’ve taken a long term view with a number of players who need a rest or will benefit from a full pre-season.”

Ireland beat the Springboks 29-15 in their last encounter in November 2014 in Dublin, where star flyhalf Jonathan Sexton scored 16 points in an excellent goal-kicking display.

But they have never got past the Boks in a Test in South Africa, having lost all seven. They last visited the country in 2004, in Jake White’s first series in charge.

Coetzee will name his first Bok squad on Saturday night at Newlands.

Ireland Squad

Forwards (18): Finlay Bealham, Rory Best (captain), Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie Heaslip (vice-captain), Iain Henderson, David Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean Reidy, Mike Ross, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, Donnacha Ryan, CJ Stander, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner.

Backs (14): Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Conor Murray, Stuart Olding, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble.


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Original source: Ex-Stormers lock in Irish squad