Fourie still the man for Boks

Jaque Fourie is still the favourite to wear the No 13 jersey when the Boks get their World Cup campaign underway next year.

Fourie, who has started just three matches in the past three seasons for the Boks, is still at the forefront of Heyneke Meyer's thinking leading up to the World Cup.

However, with Fourie ruled out of the November Tests, the Boks depart for their four-Test tour tomorrow with no natural outside centre among their ranks.

Jan Serfontein filled the role for the bulk of the Rugby Championship, while Damian de Allende and JP Pietersen have also featured in the outside centre berth this season.

Speaking prior to the squad's departure, Meyer seems to be happy with the personnel he currently has at his disposal.

'I always believed we need a great 13 for the way we want to play and I believe Jan [Serfontein] has done brilliantly,' said Meyer.

'He plays mostly at 12, people think he is at 13 but in the game Jean [De Villiers] plays mostly there. Jean has played wing and 13 and he has done really well, I think he will improve even more because he is coming back to his best. Jan has done well. JP [Pietersen] has proved his worth at 13, he is playing mostly there in Japan at the moment as well. It was the right thing to move him there.'

'Jaque Fourie will definitely be in the squad, I rate him highly, he is still experienced and he is young enough. I saw him in Japan now while we were there and he played two half-games since he came back. I don’t think it’s fair on Jaque or the team if I take him with, although I’d love to have the opportunity to work with him on the tour.

'We’re a little bit thin in the 13 position and it's no use taking him with. He will definitely be in the squad and as we’re heading into the World Cup year, we have three guys to pick from.'

Damian de Allende held the inside line heading into the Rugby Championship, but after failing to make the necessary impact against Argentina, he found himself on the periphery for the rest of the tournament. Having played much of his rugby at No 12, it was a big ask of the 22-year-old to adapt to international level as well as a new position.

'I still believe Damian [De Allende] is improving as well. He has been training with us and it was a big ask to throw him in at the deep end and ask him to play at 13, when he hasn’t played there before,' said Meyer.

'He is looking good in training and I believe he can also make an impact at 13. We’re covered there for the tour, but it is a pity that Jaque Fourie couldn’t be there for the tour. Working with him for such a small time, I could see what he has to offer, he is a quality player.'

Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images