England v Samoa, Twickenham, November 20
Fourie relishing England shot
November 18, 2010
Hendre Fourie is relishing his chance with England © Getty Images
Hendre Fourie has insisted that he has no split loyalties as he prepares to make his full England debut at Twickenham on Saturday.
The South African flanker, who starts in the No.7 jersey against Samoa this weekend, hails from Burgersdorp on the Eastern Cape, a battleground of the second Boer War and the site of South Africa's earliest Dutch language monument.
His path to an England jersey began with a spell at Rotherham in 2005 following the end of his time with the Cheetahs and he joined Leeds, under former England openside Neil Back, in 2007.
Broad Afrikaans accent in tow he will pack down for his adopted country on Saturday with a great deal of pride, having won debut caps off the bench against New Zealand and Australia in recent weeks.
"I am still proud of where I come from, my heritage, but I am here now," he said. "I am qualified for England and I am just as proud to pull on an England shirt at the weekend as I would be a South Africa shirt.
"My Mum and Dad shed a few tears when I came on against New Zealand. A guy from Burgersdorp sent me a text and said it sounded like South Africa had won the World Cup again when I came on.
"It has all been massively supportive. Everybody is proud and why shouldn't they be? I have achieved one of the greatest things in the sport. I am proper English now. Leeds is home and I go on holiday to South Africa."
Fourie has no regrets about taking up the offer to play for England, insisting that he was 'chucked off the radar' of South African selectors.
"Last year it started snowballing. Someone asked me what I would say if Martin Johnson asked me to play for England. I said yes immediately," he said. "I was not going to play for South Africa. I was chucked off their radar when I left there.
"I don't think there has been anything written about me since. Nobody gave a thought to me from that side so I am not bothered about them. I started with the Saxons game in February and I thought 'if I can do that why not aim higher and go for international level?' Now I am here."
Next weekend the Springboks visit Twickenham and Fourie is hoping to keep his foot in the door this weekend after being given the chance to understudy England skipper Lewis Moody, who has been rested for the Samoa fixture.
"I want to play as well as possible against Samoa to push Lewis as hard as I can for his place and to promote myself for next weekend," he said. "If I am in the 22 for next week it will be really good. But I have to focus on this week."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success