Waratahs unveil giant new South African signing

Giant NSW recruit Le Roux Roets promised to “throw my weight around” in Super Rugby after the Waratahs announced the signing of the 23-year-old South African lock for the 2019 season.

Roets, who stands an imposing 200cm and weighs 135kg, joined the Waratahs squad in training last week after being picked up by the franchise on a one-year deal.

As revealed by RUGBY.com.au last year, Roets’ abrasive play for the Pumas in the Currie Cup caught the eye of Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, who was searching for a aggressive and line-bending lock to add to his forward pack.

“We first noticed his talent in the Currie Cup and we have been searching for a big, aggressive and physical player who can get us going forward and excels in the set piece,” Gibson said in a NSW Rugby release.

“At 135kg, Le Roux fits the profile that we have been wanting to add to our squad. His recruitment will add real competition and depth amongst our current lock options in Rob Simmons, Tom Staniforth, Ryan McCauley and Jed Holloway.”

Gibson said last month he was searching for a physical forward in the mould of Jacques Potgieter, the former Springbok who became a cult hero for the Tahs in their 2014 title season.

Roets, who grew up in the high veldt of South Africa and spent time at Racing Metro in France as well, said that’s what he planned to bring to the table.

“Just bringing my physicality to the side, throw my body around, throw my weight around, hit a few rucks,” Roets said in a Waratahs video.

“I will bring to the team whatever I can, and learn from them as well.

“The tempo is pretty up there. There are a lot of great players here, which is making it pretty interesting. I am trying to fit in and make my mark, slowly but easily.

“My goal was to be selected for a Super Rugby team and to have the chance to play for the NSW Waratahs is amazing. This is a team that has won a championship title and in watching them play in 2018, I cannot wait to be part of them doing even better this year.

“If you’re not first you’re last so we will try to give it everything on the training field so we can give it everything on the field when we play.”

Roets is the first of a few recruitment announcements expected from the  Waratahs in coming weeks.

Veteran Wallaby and NSW outside back Adam Ashley-Cooper has agreed to rejoin the club after finishing up in Japan, and his contract is all-but finalised. The announcement of his return is expected to be in the next fortnight.

The announcement of Karmichael Hunt’s signing is also expected imminently, after the parties agreed to a deal prior to Christmas.

It was thought the contracting would progress quickly from there but there has been no official word from the Waratahs yet about Hunt’s move south, which also involves Bryce Hegarty moving north.

The Waratahs returned to training this week but will not begin preparations as an entire squad until January 21, with Wallabies players engaged in a conditioning camp in Sydney this week.