World Cup-winning Springbok centre Jaque Fourie is prepared to go the legal route to get out of his contract with the Golden Lions, as he strives to join Western Province.
Fourie’s lawyer, Frikkie Erasmus, told rugby365 on Thursday that the player is determined to end his seven-year association with the Johannesburg-based team.
However, there is a “process” to be followed and, according to Erasmus, court action would be a last resort.
Although there are some French offers on the table, Erasmus confirmed that a move to Cape Town is first prize for Fourie.
“He is not really interested in the French offers, even though they claim he has come to an agreement with them. He is looking at Western Province,” Erasmus told rugby365.
Erasmus also confirmed that they have already written to the Lions to request that Fourie be released from his ‘contract’, which runs till October 2010.
According to Erasmus the next step, should the Golden Lions Rugby Union remain stubborn, would be to go through the South African Rugby Union’s “dispute process” and after that they will consider court action.
“We haven’t had a response from the Lions yet, but we are confident Jaque will be released to join Western Province,” Erasmus said, adding that the document the Lions are relying on to keep Fourie in Johannesburg is not a contract.
Fourie’s departure will not be the first time that the Lions are involved in a dispute with a player determined to leave the union.
Retired Springbok utility forward AJ Venter went to court to have his contract torn up when he wanted to join the Sharks in 2000.
Bok prop Brian Mujati, who has signed with Northampton Saints this year, also went through the SARU ‘dispute procedure’ when he joined Western Province from the Lions last year.
When Fourie is eventually cleared to join WP, he will be the latest in an ever growing list of senior players who has departed from the Lions since to controversial axing of former coach Eugene Eloff.
Those who have already left or will leave at the end of the season for greener pastures include Springbok flyhalf André Pretorius (Western Force), Ernst Joubert (Saracens, England), Anton van Zyl (Western Province), Ethienne Reynecke (Saracens, England), Willie Wepener (Clermont-Auvergne, France) and Dewald Senekal (Toulon, France).Tweet