Le Roux: I’ll be a force to be reckoned with 

It’s fair to say we’ve got form when it comes to uncovering big, talented South Africans to play in the back five of a scrum. From JL and Dan du Preez, to Jono Ross and Ernst van Rhyn, plenty of players from the Rainbow Nation have taken the Premiership by storm after making the switch to Manchester. 

And now Alex Sanderson will be hoping his latest giant South African import will have a similar impact. Weighing in at more than 134kg and standing at 6’8”, Le Roux Roets will join Sale from the HollywoodBet Sharks in the summer, and the 29-year-old former Racing 92 and Waratahs man says he’s looking forward to the new challenge. 

Photo Steve Haag Sports

He said: “The nerves of trying to get it all sorted have been tough. We had to wait for international clearance so I tried not to get too excited until it was all sorted. But now it’s come through so I’m excited, my wife is excited and we can’t wait to get going. 

“Sale actually first came to me a couple of years ago and I was really tempted by the offer but at the time I didn’t qualify for a work permit. Unfortunately, I did my ACL just a few months after that. 

“So when my agent called and said that Sale had come back again, it was a great feeling to know that such a big club obviously saw something in me. That helped a lot with the decision. 

“The Premiership is a really prestigious competition and it’s right up there with any league in the world. It’s hard to compare the Premiership with the URC but I think the pace and physicality of the game will suit me. I can’t wait to give it a go and see what I can contribute.” 

Le Roux has crossed paths with some of his new Sharks teammates during his club career, but he says it was a former Carrington resident who gave him the most glowing review of his new home. 

He said: “After I came back from playing in France, I played at the Sharks in South Africa and I played with JL and Dan du Preez. I got on with them really well and I think we feed off the same kind of rugby. We love the physical side of the game and I can’t wait to see how we combine and find common ground. 

“They’re both massive ball carriers and I’m really looking forward to linking up with them to see what we can do together. 

“I haven’t played with Ernst van Rhyn but I’ve played against him plenty of times and I know he’s also a real presence on the field. I’ve only been an enemy of his on the pitch so I’m looking forward to being on his team. 

“I like to pride myself on my defensive work and my set-piece but I enjoy the attacking side of the game too. I want to be a big presence and a force to be reckoned with in the tight five and try and get as much go-forward ball for the team as possible. 

“I’ve messaged the du Preez brothers but the person I’ve spoken to the most about moving to Manchester is Coenie Oosthuizen. He said the only bad thing is the weather but the rest is brilliant. He said it’s a family-orientated set-up, and for me, as the dad of a two-year-old girl, that was a big priority. 

“It’s great to be able to give my family this opportunity to experience life abroad, and if there’s anything I can do to help secure my kids’ future then I’m jumping on that train. 

“Alex and I had a video call some months back and one of the big things that stood out was how interested he was in my family and how they could make the transition for them easier. 

“It’s quite special. How they’ll fit in is something that is a worry, but I have no doubts my wife and daughter will love it there. 

“In terms of my career, it’s time for another chapter and time to experience something different, in a new country and Sale is the perfect club for me. 

“Ever since they started to broadcast Premiership rugby in South Africa people have been interested in it. I think because of the South African players who have played at Sale, it’s one of the top three teams mentioned over here. All that just contributes to how excited I am to start my journey there. 

“I think if you ask any South African, playing for the Springboks is a dream. But for me, I just want to come to England and play the best rugby I can for Sale. If that opens any more doors in the future then great, but playing for my club is the most important thing.”  

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