QUINN ROUX GOT an early birthday present this week by wrapping up a two-year contract extension but the ideal way to celebrate his 28th birthday at the end of the month would be inclusion in the Irish squad for the autumn internationals.
Roux is now in his fifth season at the Sportsground, having joined initially on loan after three years with Leinster, and he has become one of the leaders as Andy Friend tries to get Connacht back competing for silverware.
“I’m delighted, it’s great to have it out of the way and just focus on my performances every week,” said the South African who has committed to remain at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2021.
“This is my fifth season here and it was so easy to make the decision. We bought a house in Galway, it is very much home for us. We love it here.”
He won the sixth of his Irish caps in Australia in the summer, having made his debut two years earlier against his native South African.
His form for Connacht has been excellent this season but he knows how much competition is there for second row slots in Joe Schmidt’s squad.
You are never guaranteed to be in those squads. You have to play really well to be in there so, fingers crossed, I will be included.
“There are two more games before that squad is announced so hopefully I can put in some good performances.
“Consistency is the main thing I’m working on, backing up good performances and I feel I have started the season in that way.
“The way we started has been brilliant. Last year was a bit of a rollercoaster but we started really well this season. We can’t look too far ahead, but there is a really positive vibe in the squad.
“We are training well and that shows on the pitch. Calling the lineouts for the last year has given me a kind of leadership role in the team, responsibility that I’ve taken on and it’s another string that I have added to my bow.
“We have quite a young squad. I am 27 and I’m one of the older guys but that’s a real positive as well. There are a few good young lads coming up,” he added.
Meanwhile, scrum-half Conor McKeon is set for a lengthy spell on the sideline after suffering a shoulder injury shortly after coming on for his first game of the season.
Coach Andy Friend said it was a big blow to the 23-year old but he’s confident he will make a full recovery.
“It’s a real shame. He will be in surgery so that’s going to be a long one for him. He got his opportunity on Saturday and it’s unfortunate.
He is really popular member of the group and everyone has reached out to him and everybody is wishing to be successful surgery and a quick and effective recovery,” he said.
International Kieran Marmion will miss Saturday’s Challenge Cup trip to Sale Sharks but should be back for the following week’s clash away to Ospreys.
Full-back Tiernan O’Halloran has recovered from injury and is available while prop Denis Buckley, lock Ultan Dillane and back rower Paul Boyle, all who were rested for the 22-10 win over Bordeaux-Begles, are back for the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, while prop Peter McCabe is going through the HIA protocols this week.
“It’s been handy to give some of those lads a break as some of them had played a lot of minutes this season and now they will come back fresh,” added Friend.
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