Ditching the hot-head tag works wonders for Roos

Evan Roos has played 15 games for the Stormers in the URC, scoring eight tries so far. | BackpagePix

Evan Roos has played 15 games for the Stormers in the URC, scoring eight tries so far. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 5, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The hot-headed youngster of a few seasons ago has taken a back seat for a calmer Evan Roos, one comfortable playing all three loose-forward positions when the Stormers need him to – even during a match.

The 24-year-old has gone from being the one who would be in the middle of a little bit of argy-bargy to the one who just smiles in the face of those trying to rile him up.

Evan Roos was a powerful presence in the Stormers victory over the Lions this past weekend. | Backpagepix

It has done wonders for his game – walking away from scuffles – and even though players still target him, trying to ignite his fuse, Roos says he has had a couple of chats with the more senior players and his coaches in an effort to keep himself on the right side of the whistle.

More of the same calmness will be needed in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 8.35pm).

“As a youngster, you always want to prove yourself. I was 21 when I started playing,” Roos said.

“But after chats with various people, I’ve realised you don’t always have to intimidate someone by pushing them around. You are there to do a job. We don’t want to be branded as a bunch of bully-type guys. It’s not nice to see that on the field.

“When we play rugby, it’s 80 minutes of violence and chaos, but it’s still a gentleman’s game. I’ve really tried to implement that to make the coaches, my family and the supporters proud.

“You are representing more than just yourself.”

His game has also benefited from this mental shift and the fact he is comfortable playing any position at the back of the scrum just added another dimension to the loose forward.

According to Roos, being able to switch positions has done wonders for his game, and it’s added more arrows to his quiver. It’s certainly something the Springbok coaches will notice as they look for a replacement for the retired Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen and the suspended Jasper Wiese ahead of the international season.

“Playing at No 6, seven and No 8 this season, it’s lekker to have that versatility and it puts another arrow in your arsenal,” Roos explained.

“You can’t ever have enough. It broadens your expertise. You learn new things, and luckily the difference between playing six and eight is not too much. It’s the same type of role in our team and the only one that’s a little bit different is No 7.

“I’m grateful to have a little bit of that skill needed wherever I play.”

The Stormers recently changed his role from No 8 to No 6 – in the absence of regular fetchers like Deon Fourie and Nama Xaba – to play more to the ball on the ground. It also allowed them to make space for the light-footed and skilful Hacjivah Dayimani in his preferred slot at the back of the scrum.

And while there’s a vacant Bok spot, Roos is focusing only on the Stormers and their play-off ambitions for now.

“I’ve come to learn that those things come when they are supposed to.”