Springboks’ journeyman Deon Fourie finally reaches ultimate destination

Deon Fourie in action during the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup semi-final against England at Stade de France

FILE - Deon Fourie in action during the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup semi-final against England at Stade de France. Photo: Matthieu Mirville/DPPI via AFP

Published Nov 5, 2023


Springbok utility forward Deon Fourie is still pinching himself and taking in every moment after becoming a world champion at the ripe age of 37.

The Rugby World Cup winner and his teammates took to the streets of Cape Town on Friday to parade their medals and Webb Ellis Cup, and received a hearty and loud reception in the city centre as thousands of avid Bok supporters lined the streets to receive their heroes.

Fourie is one of the success stories in the Bok set-up under coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmu,s after receiving his call-up following years of grafting.

He had to leave the South African scene for French club rugby, and then returned to help the Stormers to a first-ever United Rugby Championship win in 2021, before making the World Cup squad that defended their title successfully.

As the oldest Springbok to make his debut, Fourie said that two years ago, he would’ve never imagined he’d be part of these scenes in Mzansi.

But the emotion on his face after the final whistle blew in France a week ago, when the Boks beat New Zealand 12-11 in the Paris final, showed how much this victory meant to him.

He also had to play for about 77 minutes after starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi was injured early on.

“That emotion you saw after the whistle, that was relief,” Fourie said yesterday.

“The last three weeks, winning by one point, it was stressful. Grafting it out at the end, and you know you just have to get the ball back to win the game and move on.

“And at the last (minute) to win the World Cup, there was relief, then happiness, and disbelief that I was on the field and winning a World Cup.

“If you had told me two years ago when I came back to South Africa that I would be standing here today with a World Cup winners medal, I would’ve laughed and said you are smoking some weird stuff.

“But I am very happy and fortunate to be in this position.

“This is amazing, driving through the streets of Pretoria and Johannesburg on Wednesday, seeing the kids on the streets, I told coach Jacques (Nienaber) I am feeling a bit emotional. I am a father of two, and just seeing kids happy for us is unbelievable.”

According to Fourie, the Bok triumph is something enormous for the country, especially with the amount of support they are receiving currently.

He added that it’s the fans, especially on social media, who drove them to fight for the title.

“It was phenomenal support, just amazing. It carried us, especially in the knock-out phases at the end.”


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