Connacht confirm Quinn Roux’s departure after 9 years in Ireland

Updated May 10th 2021, 2:00 PM

QUINN ROUX WILL bring the curtain down on his Irish odyssey, Connacht have confirmed, with a summer move to France now looking likely.

Connacht head coach Andy Friend had said last month that he wished to retain Roux’s services but in a statement released by the western province today, he confirmed Connacht had been unable to reach an agreement with Roux.

Friend also said that Connacht had “begun the process of recruiting a new second row” in Roux’s stead.

“It’s no secret we would have liked to see Quinn stay at the club beyond this season,” Friend began. “We entered into discussions but unfortunately as matters progressed, we were unable to reach a final agreement with him that worked on both sides. As a result, Quinn has decided at this stage of his career to explore other opportunities and we fully respect his decision in that regard.

“Everyone at Connacht wishes him and his young family all the very best for the future, and to thank him for his many years of commitment to Connacht. He will always be welcome back to The Sportsground.

“We have already begun the process of recruiting a new second row and we will obviously make an announcement about that in due course.”

In his own statement, Roux thanked the people with whom he had worked at Connacht and in Irish rugby over the past seven years, and stated his intention to return to Galway and raise his young family there in the future.

Roux said: “This has been a really tough few months as I made a decision on my future.

“I’ve been lucky to work with excellent coaches at Connacht and Ireland, and my thanks to them for all their guidance down the years, as well as the Connacht S&C, medical team and wider staff for their help.

“A special thank you to all the team-mates I’ve played with at provincial and international level. I’ve made some life-long friends and it’s been nothing but a pleasure sharing a pitch and locker room with them. Having the opportunity to represent my adopted country is something I’ll always be grateful for.

“I’m also very thankful for the support from people close to me over the last few months. The players and people I work with closely fully understand and respect my decision which has made a hard decision somewhat easier.

The Irish lock was a noticeable absentee when Connacht announced 21 player contract extensions two months ago.

It’s understood that Toulon is his most likely destination. Racing 92 were also interested in the Pretoria native but a summer move to the south of France looks on the cards, where he will link up with former Stormers teammate Eben Etzebeth.

Such a move would also likely end his international career, with Roux having been included in Andy Farrell’s original Six Nations squad earlier this year before a neck injury ruled him out — and he may not return before the end of this season.

Roux won the last of his 16 caps against Scotland before Christmas, having made his international debut against his native South Africa in the summer of 2016.

Joe Schmidt brought Roux to join Leinster in 2012 and won a Challenge Cup medal with them. Roux saw less game time when Matt O’Connor took charge and he went on loan to Connacht at the start of the 2014/15 season before making the move to the Sportsground permanent.

He missed most of the Pro12 winning campaign with an ankle injury but recovered to be called up by Schmidt for the tour to South Africa and he made his debut in Johannesburg.

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He captained Connacht on his 100th appearance against Munster in December 2019 but since then has only played six matches for Friend’s side.

Friend said last month they were keen to retain such an experienced player.

“We are really hopeful he will be with Connacht next season. We are waiting for another few weeks before we can make a decision on that,” he said at the time.

“Connacht definitely want Quinn Roux to stay because he is a hell of a personality and a hell of a player for us as a province so the intention is that we will have a decision in a few weeks.”

However, Roux will now depart and bring his nine-year Irish adventure to an end.

– Originally published at 10am. Updated at 12:07pm with confirmation and quotes from Connacht and Quinn Roux.