Roets switches Welsh clubs

North Wales Crusaders have signed their first full international player in Welsh Four Nations star Christiaan Roets.

The South African born centre or second row was unable to reach an agreement with a new contract with fellow Welsh club South Wales Scorpions in the close season so has been snapped up by the North Wales outfit, scoring on his debut in the 62-0 win over Halifax under 23s on Sunday.

In doing so, Roets becomes the first player to appear in the colours of both Crusaders clubs, having appeared twice for Celtic Crusaders reserves when they were based in Bridgend in 2009.

The 31-year old started playing rugby league for his then local Conference side Swansea Valley Miners back in 2003, was the shining light in their side in their four years in the Welsh Conference and was rewarded with a Wales A cap.

When the Miners disbanded in 2006, Roets signed for Bridgend Blue Bulls and his continued good performances for both them and in his brace of matches for Celtic Crusaders reserves resulted in him being called up as a fringe player for the full Wales squad in 2009.

He made his Welsh debut against Serbia in Smederevo and impressed straight away as he scored a hat-trick of tries and clinched man of the match in Wales‘ 88-8 win. He retained his place in the Wales side for the games against Ireland and Scotland and scored a further try against the Scots in Wales‘ 28-16 European Cup Final victory.

He has now won 10 caps, scoring six tries and appeared in every game in Wales’ Four Nations campaign last year.

Back at club level, Roets was one of the original South Wales Scorpions players in 2010 and was almost an ever present in their first two years as a club, missing just one game. He ended his Scorpions career with 12 tries from 41 appearances, departing the club in late 2010 to play rugby union for Tonmawr in the Welsh Premiership before the Crusaders came in for him.

Roets said: “I’m very excited about the move. I took part in the trial game against Halifax last week and it was a really good vibe and great team spirit. I’m now looking forward to playing for them in Championship 1.

“It’s a new team, new challenge for me. I’ve been here before, at the start of a new club with South Wales Scorpions two years ago and hopefully I can make a positive contribution to another new Welsh team. That’s made it exciting for me, I can learn from past experiences and hopefully help North Wales Crusaders in the right direction.”

North Wales Crusaders chief executive Jamie Thomas said: “We’re delighted to sign player of his calibre. Christiaan had an outstanding Four Nations competition and we’re delighted that he is with us.

“He is of course our first full international to sign for the club and it’s a real coup for us. He brings masses of experience of playing at this level and he will play a key part in shaping the future of the club.”

North Wales Crusaders’ season tickets can be bought online at http://www.crusadersrfl.com/page.php?id=309 and at the Glyndwr University Sports Centre reception from Monday to Friday 7.30am to 10.00pm and Saturday to Sunday 9.00am to 6.00pm.

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