Paris got Le Roux’s heart rac­ing, and the rest is his­tory

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

in­di­vid­u­als in key po­si­tions and they’re build­ing to­wards some­thing that will be great.”

He added the ad­di­tion of Bren­dan Ven­ter to the coach­ing team would be a big boost to the Boks.

“I think they’ve put 2016 be­hind them. And with Bren­dan Ven­ter now in­volved, there will be a lot of good struc­ture in the side, espe­cially when it comes to de­fence. That’s a big pos­i­tive for the Boks.”

Le Roux’s story of how he ended up play­ing for France is an in­ter­est­ing one, and there will be some out there who’ll feel he’s one that got away from South Africa.

Af­ter turn­ing out for Boland in Vo­da­com Cup rugby in 2009 he was asked by for­mer World Cup win­ning coach Jake White to join the Joburg­based Lions for the 2010 Su­per Rugby sea­son. At that stage, White’s com­pany, Win­ning Ways, was do­ing con­sul­tancy work for the Lions, in­clud­ing the con­tract­ing of play­ers. The night be­fore Le Roux was to sign on with the Lions he was of­fered the chance to play for two months for Rac­ing Metro in Paris, as cover for an in­jured player. Le Roux ap­par­ently fell in love with Paris, the French cul­ture and its peo­ple, and stayed for a lit­tle longer. It’s now been eight years and he’s played well over 100 matches for Rac­ing 92, as it is now known.

In 2013 he was called up to the French squad for the first time, for their tour of New Zealand and made his de­but on June 15 in Christchurch.

“It’s al­ways great com­ing back to South Africa though, it’s a beau­ti­ful coun­try. I come back once a year to visit my mom, see my friends and to go hunt­ing,” he chuck­led.

He grew up on a farm in Moor­rees­burg, 100km north of Cape Town.

“I’ve al­ways en­joyed the out­doors and we don’t get much of that in France. But in the summers, when the days are long, we at least get to go to the club owner’s farm and do some fish­ing.”

Le Roux said France would play a bal­anced game dur­ing the se­ries and wouldn’t sim­ply throw the ball around, as some are ex­pect­ing them to do.

“We’re try­ing to cre­ate our own style of play, a mix­ture of French flair and a bit of struc­tured rugby,” he said. “Of course, ev­ery­thing de­pends on what the score is, at what stage of the game we’re at ... that will de­ter­mine whether you’re go­ing to see run­ning rugby or not.

“It also de­pends on where we are in the se­ries and what’s at stake ... and what the Boks are do­ing. We have the li­cense though to have a go when we see some­thing is on.

“But in the Six Na­tions (ear­lier this year) we cre­ated a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and we made a lot of line breaks, but didn’t fin­ish off. We’d like to cor­rect that and ob­vi­ously score more tries.”

De­spite all the woes of the Boks over the last year, Le Roux said the French are ex­pect­ing a mas­sive se­ries. “I can’t see why the Boks won’t be a bet­ter side (than in 2016).

“They will be full of con­fi­dence, they al­ways are, and play­ing in one’s home coun­try makes a big dif­fer­ence.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.