Quinn Roux to leave Connacht at the end of the season

Secondrow could be heading to Toulon when seven-year stint in Galway comes to an end

Connacht have confirmed that their South African-born lock Quinn Roux is to leave the province this summer on foot of an anticipated move to Toulon.

The 30-year-old joined Connacht from Leinster in the summer of 2014 and has played 106 times for the province in seven seasons, during which time he also won 16 caps for Ireland caps.

His departure is an undoubted blow for the province, as evidenced in their statement which began: “Connacht Rugby are disappointed to announce that Quinn Roux will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this season.

"It's no secret we would have liked to see Quinn stay at the club beyond this season," admitted Andy Friend.

“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 secondrow and we will obviously make an announcement about that in due course.”

Roux was initially brought to these shores in 2012 by Joe Schmidt at Leinster, where he won a Challenge Cup medal, but he had less game time under Matt O'Connor. He moved to Connacht on loan at the start of the 2014-15 season before making the move permanent, captaining them on his 100th appearance against Munster last December.

Although Roux missed most of Connacht's 2015-16 Pro12 winning campaign with an ankle injury he was called up by Schmidt for the tour to South Africa and he made his debut in the second Test in Johannesburg.

Roux won the last of his 16 caps against Scotland before Christmas, and was included in Andy Farrell's original Six Nations squad earlier this year before being sidelined with a neck injury, but his departure from Connacht signals the end of his Test career.

Were Roux to move to Toulon, he would link up with former Stormers teammate Eben Etzebeth among others.

In a statement, Roux said: “This has been a really tough few months as I made a decision on my future. There were a lot of factors at play, but most importantly I had to make a decision that was best for me and my wife Rentus and my daughter Rhemy. Rhemy is still very young and we feel the timing is right to go and experience something new as a family.

“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 teammates 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.

“We’re really excited about the opportunities ahead, but it’ll also be tough leaving a place we’ve called home for the last 7 years. The people of Connacht have been so welcoming and supportive, and I’d like to sincerely thank them for everything they’ve done for me.

“I will miss Galway, but we have a home here that we plan to return to and raise our children. I very much look forward to when that day comes.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times

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