VIDEO: The scary thought that 'haunts' Bok
In less than a fortnight, Deon André Fourie will turn 37.
For some men that may be a scary thought, a sign that they are moving on in years and their youth is beginning to fade.
However, the versatile South African forward, Fourie, is about to make his World Cup #debut and play hooker at Test level for the first time.
Fronting up to the media ahead of South Africa’s Round Two encounter with Romania in Bordeaux on Sunday, he admitted he expected to be a ‘spectator’ in France – not a player.
“I stayed here for seven years,” he said of his stints with Lyon (2014 to 2019) and Grenoble (2019 to 2021), adding: “I never thought I would come back here and play in a World Cup.”
Back in 2019, while playing in the Pro D2 (French second tier) for Grenoble, he was traveling back by train from a match against Vannes (in the North-West of France) to their home base in the east – Fourie nd fellow South African Rudi Coetzee were watching the World Cup Final on their phones.
“We [South Africa] won [the World Cup Final] and we had a few beers on the train,” Fourie told @rugby365com.
Asked about the reality that others might be watching him play at a World Cup this weekend, Fourie said: “That is the scary part now.
“That needs to sink in still.
“When I watched the game – I get goose bumps thinking about it – imagined how it will be to represent your country in the squad and represent your country at the World Cup.
“Now I am sitting here, very fortunate to be able to do that.”
He credited the ‘environment’ at the Stormers for his improved form and ongoing enjoyment of the game.
(WATCH as utility forward Deon Fourie chats with @king365ed about the prospect of finally making a World Cup appearance and playing at hooker…)
“I enjoyed it at the Stormers. It went well for the team and it went well for me.”
Asked about covering both flank and hooker in the Bok squad – having last played hooker in a match in 2018 for Lyon – he said he has been training in both positions.
“I played hooker here [in France] in the first year, but in the second year I was flank.
“But the third year I was hooker again and then I moved to flank again.
“I was bouncing around between the two.
“However, I have played hooker more than flank in my career.”
Having never played hooker at test-match level, he is confident he can make the step up.
“Hopefully it’s like riding a bike,” Fourie told @rugby365com, adding: “If I get the opportunity to play there I can just jump back on.”
Now, a wiser, older head, he believes he has worked hard enough on the basics to not let the team down.
Speaking about playing against Romania, Fourie said in their opening game against Ireland, there were some big hits and you can see they’re a proud and passionate bunch of guys.
“It definitely showed in the first game and I think they’ll carry that through all their games.
“They’ll want to prove to themselves and to their country that they still are a good team and they’ve got good players.
“They’ll definitely come out with pride and energy to put their marker down.”
On the secret to longevity: “I can’t put my finger on why I still feel good and still can run with the young guys.
“I did gymnastics for nine years and I’m not the biggest guy doing all the weights in the gym – probably I can write it up to those two.”