Bok flanker Francois Louw bucked the trend by turning his back on South Africa to join Bath in the prime of his career.
Springbok flanker Francois Louw bucked the trend by turning his back on his native South Africa to settle at Bath in the English Premiership in the prime of his career.
Along with Saracens' Namibian backrower Jacques Burger, Louw has been one of the stand-out players this season, and praised his experience at Bath as both a gamble and massive learning curve.
28-year-old Louw joined Bath in 2011 from the Stormers, acknowledging that most of his countrymen tended to move overseas at the end of their careers.
“I knew it would be a gamble,” he admitted.
“It's definitely been a massive learning curve for me.
“It's been fantastic. I've really enjoyed my rugby here. I think I've learnt a lot. I've grown as a player, as a person as well.”
Louw, who will line up alongside Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts in the back row, faces a battle against Sam Warburton, the Wales captain who also skippered the British and Irish Lions during their successful tour of Australia in the summer.
“He's a great player,” Louw said of Warburton, with rival Justin Tipuric on the bench.
“He attacks the ball well and slows opposition ball down nicely. He's definitely a player that we are going have to watch.
“He can be very effective for Wales and a key player for them, so I think we need to do everything we can to make sure we manage the breakdown and control it effectively.”
Louw rated Wales, Six Nations champions but with a terrible record against the Springboks, as “a very good team”.
“They made up the backbone of the British and Irish Lions side,” he said.
“I think you will see a lot of passion.
“The guys are coming off the Six Nations, having done very well there, and they are going to want to prove a point, especially against a southern hemisphere side, against a Springboks side.
“I think we can expect a really tough challenge and everything leads to a very exciting Test match.”