NEW Wasps signing Willie Le Roux has revealed that England’s passion for rugby was one of the key factors in his recent move to Coventry.
The South Africa international is one of the most exciting full-backs in the sport, having been capped 37 times for his country and he was nominated for the World Player of the Year award just two years ago.
Le Roux was selected to represent the Springboks for the first time during the South African Quadrangular tournament of 2013 against Italy, Scotland and Samoa.
He also played an integral part in South Africa’s 2013 Rugby Championship campaign, featuring in all six matches and scoring tries in both home and away tests against Australia and in the deciding game at home against New Zealand.
“I’m really excited about the move to Wasps and I’m really looking forward to playing in the Aviva Premiership,” said Le Roux, who will move to Wasps following his commitments with current Japanese side Canon Eagles.
“The Super Rugby competition is a great one to play in but I’ve reached a point in my career where I want to experience new environments and I can’t wait for the new challenge, where I’ll be playing with and against some familiar faces.
“The recent World Cup in England really hit home just how passionate the fans there are about rugby and in weighing up the move, the recent successes Wasps have experienced, the way they play the game and the facilities they have at the Ricoh Arena were big factors in my decision.
“When speaking to Dai Young he talked to me about the atmosphere at the Ricoh Arena as well as discussing a very exciting interpretation of the game. Every player wants to win things in their career and I feel like I have a great opportunity to do that with Wasps.”
Le Roux has built a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting full backs and his versatility enables him to play at fullback and wing, although earlier in his career he played mostly as a fly-half.
Wasps director of Rugby Young sees Le Roux as the perfect replacement for Charles Pietau, who left Wasps for Ulster earlier in the summer and is looking forward to seeing him in action in the Aviva Premiership.
He added: “When we were looking to replace Charles Piutau, who is up there in the world’s top two or three international full backs, Willie was certainly in that level of international company.
“He’s shown on a regular basis that he has the ability to be one of the best full backs in world rugby.
“His attacking ability will fit perfectly into the way we want to play. He’s really safe under the high ball and also has a good kicking game, so he is a really exciting player to have in anyone’s team. That’s what we’re about.
“We are fortunate to have Rob Miller, who has shown his ability at full back on a regular basis, and is in the same attacking mould. Between Rob and Willie, we feel we can more than hold our own against any team in the full back category. Willie and Rob are also comfortable on the wing and Rob can also cover 10, so we’ve got that versatility where we can move people about.
“Willie’s knowledge and international experience will also be beneficial to our younger players coming through at the club and we look forward to welcoming him to Wasps next year.”