Cape Town - Springbok outside back Willie le Roux took some time out from pre-season training to share his views on the upcoming Rugby World Cup, his stance on social media, watching the NFL live and much more.
Q&A with Willie le Roux:
You are pretty active on Twitter and Instagram, giving fans insight into your personal life and what it means to be a Springbok rugby player. Do you have specific social media guidelines to follow or do you just use common sense to ensure you don’t get into trouble with your posts?
To me social media is a platform to share my experiences and give thanks to the people and brands that support me. Not a place to broadcast my opinions.
With 2015 being a World Cup year, do you place even more pressure on yourself and how do you keep your focus on each game without being distracted by thoughts of the World Cup?
I try not to think too far ahead. There is a lot of rugby to be played before then and at the moment I would just like to focus on making sure I am at my best for the Cheetahs Super Rugby campaign.
What are the strengths of this Springbok team and can this team win the World Cup?
Well if we don't believe we can win it we shouldn't be going. I honestly feel this group of players is yet to reach its full potential.
You played for the Boland, then Griquas and were suddenly pulling on a Springbok jersey – is there a lesson in this for young players who dream of success but become disillusioned when they don’t see opportunities at the major rugby unions?
He he that's not quite the way it played out. After joining the Griquas I spent two full seasons playing Super Rugby for the Cheetahs before getting an opportunity at International level. Guess the lesson is that everyone's path takes a different road and just because yours doesn't follow the norm it doesn't mean you can't reach the destination. One foot in front of the other and just keep on keeping on.
Being nominated for World Player of the Year in 2014 must have been an enormous honour – what does it mean to receive this type of global recognition so early in your career and does it place more pressure on your to perform?
I would have preferred beating Ireland and Wales. Personal accolades are always flattering and to be nominated in that company is obviously something to cherish, but being part of a successful team is even more fulfilling and something I hope we will achieve as a group.
The Toyota Cheetahs had it tough in Vodacom Super Rugby last season – what do you expect the coaching staff to do differently to ensure a consistently high level of play?
I wouldn't say the responsibility rests solely on the coaches, or anyone else for that matter. Each individual needs to take responsibility for their own personal jobs for us to be successful as a unit.
Which are you favourite Super Rugby opponents and stadiums and why are they your favourites?
Each have their own special characteristics: the intensities of local derbies vs the tempo of more phase orientated Australasian teams. In the same way each stadium has a unique feel and atmosphere. I honestly enjoy them all.
You have just signed a deal with PUMA – what factors encouraged you to make the move?
PUMA is a brand that is always willing to try something new and will innovate to be market leaders. That is something I can identify with and how I try to play my rugby.
Which boots do you play in and your thoughts on the look and feel of the boots?
I play in the evoSPEED - the ideal boot for an outside back as it’s lightweight for speed and agility and comfortable to kick in. Looks fantastic as well!
Your advice to teenage boys out there thinking of becoming a professional rugby player – choosing an agent, dealing with fame, investing your money etc?
Work hard and stay true to your strengths and what defines you as a player. Find people you can trust, build a relationship with and walk a path with. Remember that rugby doesn't last forever and take into consideration and make provision for what will be important after your playing days.
Do you have opportunities to get to know your international opponents off the pitch, and if so which players have become friends?
Rugby has a strong culture of getting to know your opposition. We have many things in common and deal with many of the same issues. I get along with players of the same position like Israel Dagg and James O'Connor.
You do a fair bit of traveling across the globe – Venice, Japan, Buenos Aires – what are your favorite places to visit and why?
It’s a fantastic privilege to be able to travel the world and experience all its wonders! To me Queenstown and Manly have been awesome touring destinations.
You got to watch the Dallas Cowboys play American Football at Wembley Stadium – did you enjoy the game and if you were born that side of the Atlantic do you think you would have liked to play it?
Yes, it was great to see the game live! Some serious athletes running around! Think I would be make a great coach though.
You are a keen golfer – what handicap do you play off and what are your golfing dreams?
I currently play off a 14 and have had the privilege of playing some great courses around the world. But I suppose more than anything I would like to play a round with Mr Woods.