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Roux buying into Connacht's culture but has great memories of Leinster

The 24-year-old lock qualifies to play for Ireland later this year.

LIFE AT LEINSTER was bittersweet for Quinn Roux, but the South African lock has started his time with Connacht in entirely positive fashion.

Following two seasons of limited exposure in Leinster, the 24-year-old took up the option of a loan switch into Pat Lam’s squad at the start of the current campaign.

Quinn Roux Roux has adapted easily to life under Pat Lam. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

13 starts in the second row later, Roux has penned a two-year deal to remain with Connacht until at least 2017. His aggressive performances on the pitch mean that contract has been earned the hard way.

“I didn’t really look for it, it was just a matter of game time,” says Roux of his original decision to move out west.

I didn’t get a lot of game time at Leinster and obviously that’s not great. I got the opportunity to come here to see if I could get games. Obviously I wasn’t going to say no to that, because the more you play, the more you improve. It all rolled on from there.”

A total of 14 starts in his two seasons at Leinster simply weren’t enough to allow Roux to develop as swiftly as he would have liked. Injuries added to the frustration during his time with the eastern province, but the former Stormers lock insists he looks back on his time under Joe Schmidt and Matt O’Connor positively.

“Obviously the injuries and stuff when I came in the first season weren’t great, but I’ve also got some great memories of winning three cups with them,” says Roux of the two Pro12 trophies and one Challenge Cup Leinster secured during his stint.

“There were a few disappointments there, but those memories I will treasure forever. Hopefully I can make a few more memories here in Connacht.”

Quinn Roux Roux says be will treasure some of his memories from Leinster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Roux is enjoying life in the “really friendly city” of Galway since leaving Dublin, and says his girlfriend has settled well too. The main difference, points out the second row, is the wild weather, although he has no problem playing in inclement conditions.

The ex-Affies student explains that working with forwards coach Dan McFarland has been good for his game, such is the former Stade Français prop’s “focus on the little details” and set-piece knowledge.

Furthermore, Roux echoes so many of his teammates in praising the work of head coach Pat Lam.

Pat’s a great coach, he puts a lot of belief into the players,” says Roux. “I’ve been lucky to have a lot of game time playing under him and obviously it shows how he’s putting a culture into Connacht.

“It’s working and for me personally it’s been great playing under him and being part of the culture, seeing what we can achieve by believing in each other.”

Roux qualifies to play for Ireland in August of this year, when he will have lived here for three years, and the national team’s head coach, Schmidt, is the man who originally signed the bruiser for Leinster.

That was only on a one-year deal, but the Kiwi coach clearly saw the potential in Roux. The man himself is not spending too much time pondering an international future.

Denis Buckley celebrates with Quinn Roux after the game Roux is fast becoming a specialist in wet and windy conditions. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Not really,” says Roux. “It’s obviously going to be in the back of my mind, but that’s not the main focus for me at the moment, personally. When it comes to that stage, hopefully I’ve been playing really well and working on what I’m doing now, working on my performances.

“When it comes to that, it comes to that, but at the moment there’s no use in thinking about that kind of stuff. I just want to focus on my game and keep building my game.”

In that regard, the Exeter Chiefs provide the latest punching bag for Roux to test his powerful tackling, strong ball-carrying and ever-improving set-piece work on.

A potential home Challenge Cup quarter-final lies in wait for the victor of Sunday’s meeting at the Sportsground [KO 15.15], and Roux is highly motivated.

“Definitely. I’d say there’s a massive opportunity to go into the play-offs. If we can win this weekend, there’s that massive chance of maybe even a home quarter-final. We won’t look that far ahead though, we’ll just focus on this weekend’s game.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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