Fourie, a formidable flanker and ball poacher who can double up as a hooker, was thrilled to be named in Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s starting lineup for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game – the first of three for the defending world champions – against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The versatile forward said he would give everything to play his way into the Boks’ 33-man World Cup squad, which will be announced on Tuesday, 8 August, and added being in the squad for the extravaganza in France in any capacity would be an honour.
Many have likened his role to that which Schalk Brits played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, but Fourie said, if afforded the opportunity, he would like to carve his own path.
“If I play my cards right, I’d fulfil that (Brits’) role anytime, but hopefully I won’t be seen as a Schalk Brits, rather Deon Fourie,” he said.
“When the Springboks won the RWC in 2019 I was still playing in the French second division, and I was on a train on the way back from a match. So, it would mean a lot if I could be there.”
With a special aura around the Springbok No 6 jersey – Rugby World Cup-winning captains Siya Kolisi (2019) and Francois Pienaar (1995) both donned the shirt – Fourie was aware of the responsibility he has when he lines up against the Pumas at Estadio Velez Sarsfield on Saturday.
“If you had told me a few years ago I would have had the No 6 jersey on my back I would have laughed,” said Fourie. “It’s a big number in South Africa, so hopefully I can do it justice.”
Fourie – like his team-mates – expected an epic battle against Argentina, and he anticipated that they would play with even more emotion this weekend following their one-point defeat and with hooker Agustin Creevy possibly set to become the first Argentinean player to play 100 Tests.
“As a team we have to handle the first few minutes of the game,” he said.
“They’ll play with a lot of emotion, but that can only carry a team so far. We just need to stick to our plan and give everything and hopefully the result will go our way.”
The Springboks will have Thursday off to rest and recover from their training block early in the week and will complete their preparations for the match at Friday’s captain’s run. The clash kicks off at 21h10 (SA time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.