From his nickname to his fan gesture while at Wasps

Who is Willie le Roux: Ten things you should know about the Springboks full-back

Willie le Roux has won more than 50 caps for South Africa and was part of the 2019 World Cup-winning squad.

Here are a few more facts and stats about the full-back.

Ten things you should know about Willie le Roux

1. Willie le Roux was born in Stellenbosch on 18 August 1989 and attended Paul Roos Gymnasium, a boys’ high school, named after the Springboks captain on the 1906-07 tour of Europe. Alumni include Schalk Brits and Steven Kitshoff.

2. Le Roux made his International debut against Italy, in Durban, on 8 June 2013.

South Africa won 44-10 with flanker Arno Botha, prop Trevor Nyakane, wing Jan Serfontein and scrum-half Jano Vermak also winning first caps for the Springboks that day.

3. Le Roux was nominated for the World Player of the Year award in 2014 alongside New Zealand wing Julian Savea, Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton, South African No 8 Duane Vermeulen and eventual winner All Black lock Brodie Retallick.

He was also the South African Players’ Association Player of the Year in 2013.

4. South Africa’s World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi nicknames le Roux ‘Majaivane’, which translates to ‘one who is always dancing’.

5. He nearly had his stellar professional career kicked into touch by none other than Rassie Erasmus when the latter was coach at Stormers and le Roux went there on trial from Boland.

Erasmus said: “I had essentially told him, ‘No, you’re not good enough’, and he went to the Cheetahs instead.”

6. During the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, le Roux played all three of South Africa’s knockout games with a shoulder injury he suffered colliding with Pieter-Steph du Toit during the quarter-final against Japan.

He told Erasmus he would understand if were to be dropped but the then head coach stuck with him.

7. He made his 50th Test appearance in 2018 against New Zealand in Pretoria. The Boks lost the match 32-30.

8. Le Roux joined Wasps at the start of 2017 where he joined up with Danny Cipriani, Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Jimmy Gopperth in a back-line that helped propel the club to the Premiership final.

They lost that in extra-time against Exeter. Le Roux joined Japanese club Toyota Verblitz in 2019; he had previously played for Cannon Eagles.

9. In the 2017-18 Premiership season le Roux was ‘King of the Assists’ with 21 in the league campaign.

During his spell at Wasps, he also paid for a fan, Stephani Aston, to make a 240-mile round trip from Basildon to the club’s ground in Coventry, and got two tickets for her to see him play one more time for the side, against Worcester.

10. Le Roux’s time at Wasps was made easier because his old schoolmate Cliffie Hodgson lived in the area and the full-back stayed with him when he first arrived.

Hodgson played for Coventry and then Broadstreet RFC – where Wasps based their training complex. “It made it easier for me to come,” said le Roux.

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.