Jaque Fourie has made an enormous difference to the Stormers this year, on and off the field, but moving to Cape Town has given him a new lease of life as well.
Len Kaplan reports for rugby365.com
The 27-year-old Fourie, a 54-Test cap Springbok, joined the Stormers in January after 68 games for the struggling Cats and Lions.
“When I was at the Lions, things didn’t click, we didn’t get together,” said Fourie in an exclusive interview with rugby365.com.
“The whole structure there was a little bit wrong, [like] driving to training every day for gym in Randburg for an hour and then having to drive through to Jo’burg Stadium.
“It was not only that – there’s a lot of stuff that’s different at the Stormers which I’m really enjoying. I’m really happy here… I couldn’t be happier,” he added.
Asked whether he and his wife are enjoying living in the Western Cape, Fourie said: “My wife and I have settled down in Cape Town. We arrived here on January 3 and it’s been amazing. The people have been so helpful and accommodating.
“We’ve settled in at our house in Plattekloof and my wife and I are both enjoying it. It’s been tremendous, so we’re a very happy camp.
“Cape Town is awesome. I’m enjoying the training set-up in Bellville. I’m enjoying everything there – it’s been amazing.”
Fourie was enthusiastic about the two young inside centres he has had as midfield partners this season, Juan de Jongh and Tim Whitehead.
“They’re two exciting rugby players who are going to mean a lot for the Stormers and for SA for years to come,” he said.
“Tim was thrown in the deep end against the Cheetahs and he stood out quite amazingly. He played a fantastic game.
“Juan is getting stronger every game; he’s a player for the future.”
Fourie is very happy with the players outside him too, saying: “We’ve got a lot of exciting talent at fullback and wing as well.”
On Saturday at Eden Park, Fourie had as his direct opponent Blues outside centre Rene Ranger, who had been one of the stars of the Super 14 this year – but made little impact against the Stormers in the Blues 33-21 defeat.
“He’s a good player. He’s been playing well in the Super 14, but any player with room is a good player, especially if he’s got good feet,” Fourie commented.
“But if you shut him down early on, he can do nothing. You saw that on Saturday – if you cut his time off and his space off he’s actually an average player.”
This Friday against the Chiefs in Hamilton, Fourie faces All Black Richard Kahui, who has also done well at outside centre in the Super 14 so far this year.
“I’ve played against him a couple of times. He’s a good player as well, an exciting player. But that’s the beauty of the Super 14 – you’re playing against international players week in and week out and that’s the challenge of it.”
The Stormers are determined to deliver another impressive performance on Friday.
“We had a hiccup against the Force, but we regrouped and showed on Saturday what we can do,” Fourie told rugby365.com.
“We worked hard during the week on things we wanted to rectify and we won 33-21 which was great. We were on a high after the game but now it’s back to doing the hard work during the week because we’re focused on beating the Chiefs.”Tweet