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Dublin: 14°C Sunday 27 September 2020

'One week you're not in and the next week you're starting against Scotland'

Quinn Roux delivered a busy performance for Ireland in Edinburgh.

THE ‘BREAKDOWN’ SECTION of the official match stats for Ireland v Scotland gives us great insight into one of the things that Joe Schmidt likes about Quinn Roux.

The Connacht lock has always been a good man to hit a ruck and he excelled with his work-rate in this department on Saturday against Scotland.

Ireland’s Sean O'Brien and Quinn Roux Roux with Sean O'Brien at Murrayfield. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

He was Ireland’s busiest players in terms of ‘own ruck arrivals’ with 54.

He was Ireland’s busiest man in terms of being one of the key first three players to arrive at Irish rucks, reaching 46.

And in terms of cleanouts – in other words, actually shifting a defensive body away from the ball – Roux was also top dog with 25, seven ahead of next best Rory Best.

Schmidt appreciates selfless players and Roux’s penchant for that trait was further exemplified in how he called the lineout, where Ireland won all 11 of their own throws.

Most lineout callers will call the ball onto themselves frequently, particularly in a big test like the one Roux faced in Scotland, but the 28-year-old didn’t do so a single time in Murrayfield.

Instead, he focused on the space and allowed James Ryan and Peter O’Mahony to win possession for Ireland. 

It was a good day for the Irish set-piece, with Roux contributing to a strong scrum too, although Ireland will have been frustrated at their failure to get their maul going after some of those lineout wins.

Roux had a dropped ball in the first half but made five solid carries and completed all 12 of his tackles in a strong individual performance that pleased Schmidt. For a man who wasn’t even named in Ireland’s original Six Nations squad, it was a fine effort.

Quinn Roux before the game Roux before the game in Edinburgh. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I was disappointed, to be honest,” said Roux, who was called up after injuries to Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson, of initially missing out.

“I thought I had a really good November series. I did well, I had called the lineout really well against Italy and the USA but, look, sometimes it doesn’t go your way.

“But rugby is a funny game, one week you’re not in and the next week you’re starting against Scotland in a massive Test so I’m just glad I got the opportunity and I made the most of it.

“Hopefully, we can get another opportunity in the coming weeks to do well.”

With Devin Toner ruled out of the remainder of this Six Nations, Roux may well get another chance to add to 10 Test caps.

His confidence in calling the lineout is a particularly useful attribute, as he proved against the Scots.

“It wasn’t really new to me, it was something that I’ve done with Connacht for the last two years so it’s something that I’ve got a lot of confidence in at the moment,” said the 28-year-old.

“I was allowed the opportunity to do it on the biggest stage and I think it went really well, so yeah, I was really happy with that.

“I’ve been the main caller for Connacht for the last two years so it’s nothing new to me. I’m just delighted I get to do it on the biggest stage and hopefully, I can keep on improving on that.

Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane and Bundee Aki Roux with Connacht team-mates Ultan Dillane and Bundee Aki. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s something that we worked on for the whole week and I thought Besty did really well with his throws because it was really windy out there, so fair play to him. I’m happy that it went well.”

Roux enjoyed pairing up with the “class” Ryan in the second row for Ireland and took pride from being part of a collective response by Schmidt’s team to their defeat to England in round one of this Six Nations.

With Schmidt indicating that this championship can help Ireland be in better shape for the World Cup later this year, Roux admits it’s difficult not to consider the prospect of making the squad for Japan.

“It’s always at the back of my mind, I’m not going to lie,” said the Connacht lock.

“But, like I said, rugby is a funny game. You can’t look too far ahead because you might lose the run of yourself. It’s just performing day-by-day and trying to get better and improve in what we want to achieve is the main thing.

“You can’t look too far ahead, but hopefully…”

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Murray Kinsella

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