Stormers No 8 Evan Roos considered giving up rugby to further his studies after a disappointing stint at the Sharks.
The barnstorming eighthman joined the Durban side’s junior ranks after graduating from Paarl Boys’ High in 2018, and turned out for the Sharks U21 side, before also playing in the Currie Cup.
Injuries and a lack of playing opportunities prevented Roos from breaking into the Sharks senior side as well as featuring at the Junior World Championship in 2019 and 2020, with the enforced break from rugby causing Roos to contemplate his future in the sport.
Speaking on SuperSport’s weekly Afrikaans rugby show, ‘Super Rugby’, the 22-year-old said he is really thankful for the playing opportunities the Stormers are giving him.
— evanroos (@evanroos4) June 5, 2022
Roos, who leads the way for successful carries and defenders beaten in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, was praised by former Springbok assistant coach Swys de Bruin for his work rate and “tackle fight” this season.
“It’s just nice to be playing again, together with a great bunch of guys,” said Roos. “I play with a sense of desperation when I carry the ball forward. Not too many people know this but, two years back before I joined the Stormers, I thought about giving up rugby to go study because things weren’t working out at the Sharks.
“But then I got this lifeline at Western Province, and I’m so grateful for it and just glad to be playing again.”
— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) June 5, 2022
Springbok great Victor Matfield, another pundit on the show, questioned Roos about the Stormers’ positive playing style and the renewed self-confidence of individuals such as Manie Libbok and Hacjivah Dayimani – players who also fell down the pecking order at their previous unions.
“In a recent team meeting, [coach John Dobson] compared us to “absurd heroes” – players who did not receive much playing chances at other unions, who did not get much rhythm at their previous teams and are now playing well together,” said Roos.
“I think everyone’s just comfortable here [at the Stormers]. You can just be yourself. No one forces or pressures you to behave in a certain way. You’re free to express yourself. Everyone’s got a common goal and that’s to win this competition, of course. And we’re all working towards that. I think our management team’s done very well in that regard.”
Commenting on the hype around him in the media and among the South African rugby public regarding a Springbok call-up, Roos said that while he is appreciative of the support he receives from fans, he chooses not to let the noise get to him by taking things “week by week”.
“Look, it’s nice to be mentioned in that regard. It’s been a dream since I was young,” said Roos. “I think it’s every rugby player’s dream in South Africa to play for the Springboks. It might sound a bit cliche, but I really try to just take things week for week, and not make things bigger than they are actually are.
“I slipped up a bit against Leinster, because I feel I made a few mistakes,” added Roos with a wry smile. “But I’ve learned from that, to not make myself bigger than the game and to literally take things week to week.”
Roos and his Stormers teammates are set to face Duane Vermeulen and Ulster in Saturday’s second URC semi-final at Cape Town Stadium.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) March 26, 2022