Willie le Roux contests a high-ball with All Black wing Waisake Naholo at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Star fullback Willie le Roux is set to be available for the Springboks on the end-of-year tour to Europe.

Le Roux, who won his 50th Test cap in the dramatic 32-30 defeat to the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld last week, has missed out on most of the season for his English club Wasps up to now.

The 29-year-old from Strand in the Western Cape has played just one game for Dai Young’s team – which was during the one-week break in the Rugby Championship following the tour to Australia and New Zealand.

Le Roux travelled back to South Africa for the Wallaby Test in Port Elizabeth and the Loftus showdown with the All Blacks, and is now back in the UK.

But in an interview with the rugbypass.com website, Wasps boss Young said that he expects his star playmaker to be unavailable once more for the November international window.

That may exclude the opening Test against England at Twickenham on November 3, though, as that match is outside the prescribed period.

The Boks then take on France in Paris on November 10, Scotland at Murrayfield and Wales in Cardiff on consecutive Saturdays.

“I am anticipating – although I haven’t heard anything – that Willie will be involved with the November tour, and then he comes backs to Wasps,” Young said.

The Wasps director of rugby went on to explain that Le Roux’s Bok commitments has not affected his view of his star No 15, although he admitted that he hadn’t expected Le Roux to miss so many games this season.

“I want to make it clear that no one broke any trust or created any animosity. We didn’t know how many games he was going to play, and the situation was something we had not planned for,” Young said.

“Rassie wasn’t going to be ringing me up and saying ‘This is my team for next week’, and why should he, which meant there was an unknown factor, and Willie didn’t know if he would be involved for two, four or six games.

“We had no real direct contact with South Africa, and it was through the player. The reality of it is that Willie thought his international career was over, but there was a change of regime and Rassie made it clear he wanted him back in.

“That was something we hadn’t accounted for because we didn’t expect him to be playing in the Rugby Championship or involved in the November tour by the Springboks.

“There hasn’t been a break down between Wasps, the player or South Africa, and there isn’t any bad feeling. But it would be wrong for me to say we expected him to be involved in those internationals.

“However, these things happen in international sport, and my relationship with Willie is good, and I would never do anything to stop anyone taking part in international rugby.”

But it could affect Le Roux’s future at the club after next year’s World Cup in Japan.

“This could be Willie’s last season with Wasps, but there is an option for another year, and we will have a sit-down and talk about what he wants to do after the World Cup in Japan,” Young said.

Le Roux plays alongside a number of other Boks such as Juan de Jongh, Nizaam Carr and Ashley Johnson at Wasps, and is set to line up for his club in Friday’s Champions Cup clash against Leinster in Dublin.

Young is confident that Le Roux will be ready after he left the field in the second half of the All Black Test and failed a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

“He’s back today. He came off (against New Zealand) with an HIA assessment, which he failed,” Young told the Coventry Telegraph’s website.

“But he passed the HIA2, which is after the game, which is classed as not being concussed.

“He’s got to do the cog test tomorrow, and if he’s symptom-free and passes the next stage of the protocol, we expect him to be eligible and fit for Friday.”

 

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