Deon Fourie reckons fellow loose forward Evan Roos shouldn’t give up hope of playing at the World Cup after not being chosen by the Springboks to defend the Webb Ellis Cup.
No 8 Roos was one of those players who didn’t make the cut for the 33-man Bok squad, although has been included on a nine-player standby list for the sport’s global showpiece.
Fourie and Roos have been standout performers for the DHL Stormers over the last two seasons, and played key roles in the inaugural Vodacom URC champions’ title-winning campaign in 2021-22.
The oldest ever Bok debutant, Fourie will be on the plane to France with the world champions – as loose forward and hooker back-up – and has empathised with his younger compatriot.
Speaking before the Boks jetted from OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg on Saturday for two World Cup warm-up clashes in the UK, the 36-year-old was quoted by IOL: “He was my roommate, and I feel sorry for him. He is still young but learned so much from Duane [Vermeulen] and Jasper [Wiese] here. And I think he can only get better as a player.
“You never know, injuries happen in a World Cup, and if you look again he might have joined up with us.”
Many have likened Fourie’s role for the Boks at this year’s World Cup to that which Schalk Brits played in Japan in 2019, as more of a mentor and off-field ‘cheerleader’, but the former Grenoble flanker is eager to carve his own path.
Fourie added: “There was a lot of criticism when I returned [from France in 2021], and breaking my cheekbone in the first match did not help. You had those saying ‘he is too old’.
“That put pressure on me and I wanted to show that I can still play good rugby. I had a good season with the Stormers and won the URC in the first year, and the rest is history as they say.
“Luckily, Schalk is one of my good mates, so I will definitely have to call him for some tips when he played at the World Cup in 2019!”
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