He may not be Ireland’s first choice second row, but the brutal physicality showcased by Connacht’s Quinn Roux has won plaudits from a handful of former Test forwards.
The withdrawal of Iain Henderson and Ryan Baird’s continued return to injury saw the South African-born lock elevated to the starting team for England last weekend. Although he drops to the bench for Georgia, the heft and aggression the 6’5, 116kg Pretorian has brought to the field didn’t go unnoticed by some former internationals, who clearly appreciated the brute force he brings to the party.
Ex-Scotland enforcer turned pundit Jim Hamilton noted that “Quinn Roux is proper” during the Twickenham game, which Bath and England prop David Flatman evidently concurred with.
— David Flatman (@davidflatman) November 21, 2020
Hamilton went to explain his Tweet on the RugbyPod this week. “I like the physical aspect of rugby. That is something that I really enjoy watching, even to the point where I put out a tweet about Quinn Roux. “People are like what are you talking about? You watch how that bloke was entering rucks, I was loving it. His physicality of smashing England players around the breakdown, I was loving watching it. The scrums, the mauls.
Roux, who arrived in Ireland as a project player in 2012 from the Stormers, has taken four years to win his 14 international caps since his 2016 debut, and can’t claim to have ever really laid claim to a starting jersey.
He had a slow start in Irish rugby. The 30-year-old made just 21 appearances for Leinster in three seasons at the province, before moving on to Connacht permanently in 2015, where he has since become a mainstay of their pack, winning over 78 appearances to date.
Former Ireland and Leinster tighthead prop Mike Ross bore witness to the strength Roux offered when they played at Leinster together. Roux, who’s preferred positive is at 5 (tighthead lock), would have packed down behind Ross at the province, and he once winded the 20 stone front-rower in a scrummaging session.
“Despite the dodgy hair, Quinn Roux adds a massive amount of ballast when he’s behind you. Got winded by him once when he was at Leinster because he threw me into the scrum machine so hard.”
— Mike Ross (@MikeRoss03) November 13, 2020
While the age of the enforcer secondrow may have more or less come and gone, the game still demands huge physicality and abrasiveness from top-level forwards. While he might not offer the raw athleticism of other locks in the Irish set-up, there’s few that can boast his raw strength.
Roux prides himself on scrummaging, telling a press conference last week that he looks forward to set-piece: “It’s something that I really enjoy. It’s not something that I kind of roll my eyes when I have to go into a scrum. I kind of get up for it and other people might not think that it’s something which is enjoyable but I take a lot of pride at being dominant in that area.
“As much I like to be dominant I need to be able to make sure that my tighthead [prop] is dominant and that’s my main job, making sure that he’s comfortable and making sure he doesn’t take a backwards step. That’s a big responsibility but it’s something that I really take pride in. It’s probably going to be the biggest challenge yet this weekend.”
That’s what every prop wants to hear.
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