We have to make a decision about his future
Jacobus Roux finally has a chance to show he still has the rugby skills to compete at the highest level.
For the past three years Roux, better known as Bees, was infamous more for his off-field actions, rather than acknowledged for his rugby skills. Now the veteran prop has a chance to set the record straight.
His conviction for culpable homicide in 2011, following the unfortunate incident involving police officer Johannes Mogale the year earlier, has been haunting him ever since.
On Friday, against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, he returns to competitive rugby in South Africa when he lines up for the Lions in what is without doubt the most experienced front row on the Currie Cup competition.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to this website ahead of his team's Round Six encounter with the Cheetahs, explained why he opted to name a front row that features three players all over 30 - Roux at tighthead prop (31), hooker Willie Wepener (32) and Springbok CJ van der Linde at loosehead (33).
One reason is to give young Ruan Dreyer a break and secondly to give Roux a chance to show his worth, having trained with the team all season.
"Ruan Dreyer has been carrying the load at tighthead prop for the whole season, with Julian [Redelinghuys] out injured," Ackermann said in reference to the surgery Redelinghuys underwent after he dislocated his thumb in the promotion-relegation series against the Southern Kings in August.
"I have been rotating [veteran Bok] CJ van der Linde and Jacques van Rooyen quite a lot in recent weeks to give both plenty of game time," the Lions coach said, adding: "I just felt this is the opportunity to give Ruan a break.
"CJ [van der Linde] is regaining some good form and Jacques [van Rooyen] is playing good rugby."
Ackermann told this website that at some stage he had to give Roux a chance.
"We have to make a decision about his future [with the Lions]," he said, adding: "We have to see at what level he is.
"Ruan knows he hasn't been axed and he hasn't done anything wrong. We have three fit props and hey will get a run. He [Dreyer] will get a chance to rest his battered body, after he played a full 80 minutes in almost all of the games in the first half of the season.
"This is now Roux's chance to cement a spot for the future," Ackermann said, adding that the situation must be put into perspective.
"We have to look at how the game develops.
"You can't put a win or a loss on just one player's shoulders.
"It is his opportunity to show us what he is capable of. He can ensure he remains with us, but you do have to be reasonable as it sometimes takes a game or two before you are settled.
"However, for me the most important aspect is that we get an opportunity to give Ruan Dreyer a beak.
"I expect that CJ [Van der Linde] and Bees [Roux], with their experience, will do well in the scrums."
The only other change to the Lions team for Friday is the rotation of flanks Jaco Kriel and Warwick Tecklenburg.
"Jaco and Warwick both brings something unique off the bench and in order to keep them fresh I am going to stick to my decision to rotate them on a weekly basis," Ackermann told this website.
"Jaco's body is still sore today [Tuesday] after he played his first full 80-minute [game against Griquas] last Saturday.
"It is also a short turnaround [just six days from a Saturday to a Friday game] and it benefits us to allow him extra time to recover.
"As I said, they both have their own strengths and hopefully Jaco will make an impact for us off the bench.
"Warwick will bring that physical aspect at the start of the game and because they both bring something unique I have no problem in rotating them."
By Jan de Koning