On the 12th day of Christmas…
Day 12, the final day, of the ‘Coventry’s Most Valuable Player’ poll results and this time it’s the overall winner that’s published. The Coventry player the readers of this blog voted as having the biggest impact on the pitch is:
Jacques Le Roux. Well done, Jacques.
It was always going to be a close call as to the order of the top three or four players, and indeed that’s how it turned out to be. But in the end, Jacques’ commitment to the cause, his ability to bounce back from adversity and his barnstorming runs through midfield are probably what won it for him. He’s what every father would want for a son-in-law and what most mothers would want as…well, you know what I mean.
Jacques joined Cov in 2012 and has played 52 games, of which 10 have been from the bench, an indication of the injuries he’s been plagued by whilst he’s been with us; he surely would have been a member of the 100 club by now, had he stayed injury free. Jacques has scored 23 tries in all, which is a very good return and is indicative of just how prominent he is in attack. He’s been yellow carded once – but I can’t imagine that would be anything other than for a technical offence, surely!
There are few more memorable sights for me over the past few years than Jacques, with ball in hand, accelerating, stooping like a sprinter off the blocks, through a gap in the opposition’s defences having received the ball off the shoulder of a team mate. That characteristic long stride, a run of 20-30m, the opposition turned and you’re left hoping that another Coventry player has been quick enough in thought and deed to be on the receiving end of Jacques’ pass.
Never has this been more typified than on his return to the team (I think) earlier in the season when he scored a scintillating try which won a pretty dour game against Plymouth. I wrote at the time:
a Plymouth fumble after Jones had struck the post with a penalty attempt (yes it was the sort of match), Jacques Le Roux hit the perfect angle and at full speed sliced through what had been resolute defence until then. It really was the proverbial knife through butter and will be one of those lasting Cov memories for me. Just brilliant.
When Cov are going forward with the crowd behind them, the sight of Jacques scything through the opposition with players trailing in his wake is worth the entrance fee alone.
He has an air of confidence about him on the pitch. He always looks in control and I don’t ever recall him getting ruffled by anything. He seems unflappable and I would imagine the opposition wouldn’t bother trying to wind him up in the way the might with Pricey or Chad because they know by now they’re not going to get a response.
Another reason for Jacques’ popularity is his commitment to the club over the last four years. Despite suffering serious injuries during his time with us, he’s stayed loyal, coming to watch games and having a presence about the ground. By his own admission:
It was getting to the stage when I was asking myself is it still worth it? I’m 31-years-old, how long will it be before I do have to stop?
Weekends are a write-off after a game, I can hardly get up out of bed on Sunday, the body is wrecked.
And yet here he is, back where he belongs, in the blue and white hoops and earning the respect of the Coventry faithful. At the age of 31 and with all the aches and pains that go with rugby at this level, Jacques freely admits that he only has a couple of years left in the game:
My contract finishes this year so we will see what happens. It all depends on the body and if the club want me to stay on, but it would great to play another season or two and my aim is to help Cov get back in the Championship.
Hopefully, the club will want Jacques to stay on.
It’s a given that supporters would like that, too.
Yes, he might be a former Portuguese International, but to the Cov faithful, he’s very much a Cov legend in the making. I’d love to see him here next year, scoring the try that takes us into the Championship.
A slight confession…I’ve ordered a trophy for the winner and have had it engraved, nothing grand mind with the cost of gold being at such an all-time high, but with the Christmas and new year delays, it hasn’t yet reached me! When it does, I’ll make sure Jacques is presented with it and hopefully someone could forward a picture of Jacques receiving it. Hopefully?
Well done, Jacques. The award might not be up there with the other cups and trophies you’ll have earned in your career, but it does indicate the respect in which you’re held by the Coventry fans who read this blog and who are, after all, are a discerning lot…