18 MAY 2019 | DANIEL TORRANCE | 10:30
“Thank you Willie Le Roux!”
It’s fair to say that Willie Le Roux took a bit of time to settle after arriving at the Ricoh Arena, perhaps best illustrated in the Champions Cup quarter final against Leinster when Le Roux, put clean through by Kurtley Beale somehow managed to drop what looked like a certain try! It proved to be a huge turning point in the game which led to some fans questioning the marquee signing.
And yes, his form has undoubtedly dipped over the last few months, leading to some fans doubting his position in the starting lineup again, but like the world class player he is, nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Le Roux should be remembered for the glittering form he showed last season, not those small hiccups that effect even the best of players.
1110 metres gained (more than Wade), 222 carries, 29 clean breaks (3rd in the Wasps squad) & most notably he made 21 try assists which was the most of all in the Premiership by 10 – Robson & Cipriani, by comparison on 6 for Wasps! The stats don’t lie & demonstrate how amazing Le Roux was in that purple patch – & lets not forget, he did all this wearing black & gold!
A consequence of such a stellar season for Wasps led to him being recalled to the Springboks under new head coach Rassie Erasmus replacing regular full back Andries Coetzee. Le Roux was back to his very best form that led Dai Young to bring him to Coventry in the first place. But despite a few more quality moments since the highs of last season – including memorable huge looping passes to set up Bassett or Watson tries, for some reason his form has somewhat plateaued from the high bar he set himself.
Despite this dip in form, Wasps will miss Le Roux next season; they will miss his game intelligence & his passing & offloading ability. Make no mistake, the incoming Minozzi is young, has a great deal of pace & has a devastating step, but he hasn’t yet got the game intelligence of Le Roux & few in my opinion ever will. And few players (other than the peerless former Wasp, Cipriani) see a hole the way Le Roux does.
Le Roux is the epitome of the Rugby Dream, after being told he was “too small & slow” for rugby, he worked & trained so hard to become the legendary full-back he is in my opinion. And as Wasps fans, we have been lucky to have experienced such a world class player amongst us & we should give him the send off he deserves. Thank you & go well Willie Le Roux!
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