Roos ready to go in Belfast

PUBLISHED: January 25, 2023

DHL Stormers No. 8 Evan Roos can’t wait to stuck in with his teammates on Friday for a big game against Ulster in Belfast.

Roos announced his comeback from a rib injury on Saturday by scoring a game-changing try off the bench as the DHL Stormers beat French Top 14 club ASM Clermont Auvergne at DHL Stadium.

The dynamic back-row bruiser was part of the DHL Stormers team that won the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship, yet has played only six matches in all competitions this season.

He relished making a return as the Capetonians booked a maiden place in the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup.

“It is awesome being back … after two months out of action before playing my first game again,” Roos said. “I was just happy I could keep up!

“I was pleased that I could contribute to turning the game around by making an impact, as well as help secure a spot in the knockout stages. Now hopefully we can go all the way.”

The 23-year-old gained a fresh perspective in recovery, and is hungrier than ever to get back to full active duty.

“It’s not always easy or fun to watch from the outside yet my body needed the break, especially mentally,” Roos said.

“I enjoyed being away from rugby for a bit, but I can’t watch my team playing when I’m not playing, it feels weird. I’m now taking in what the rest of the squad is doing right, and adopting their good habits into my game.”

The return of Roos adds to the team’s gain-line arsenal along with the likes of red-hot Hacjivah Dayimani, who deputised at the back of the scrum, and Dan du Plessis, who is coming into his own at inside centre.

He added: “I’m immensely proud of both of them, especially Dan after his concussion problems last year. Playing as well as he is now is awesome to see.

“I was quite jealous that I haven’t been there with them, so I’m happy I am there now and ready to add another option to our attack.”

The DHL Stormers are in Ireland to face Ulster in the Vodacom URC on Friday, victorious in two meetings between the teams but set to clash for the first time in Belfast.

“It’s going to be an amazing match and to play at Kingspan Stadium will be special,” added Roos. “Dobbo and I chatted about it and it’s one of those stadiums you have to experience playing at. It has an immense atmosphere and we can’t wait.”

Roos is also steeling himself for the chilly conditions: “Coming out of Cape Town where it was as high as 38 degrees, to Belfast where it is seven degrees, it’s something to get used to again after not having toured to France and London like the rest of the team this season.”

“Ulster have a formidable scrum and maul as well as a very good, structured attack, so we have to counter that.

“They are a quality side with great players, so it’s going to be a tough but good fight, and one we are definitely up for.”