At 27 years of age, DHL Stormers star Deon Fourie is hardly a veteran. However, he feels that the newer, younger members of the DHL Stormers touring squad are energising the older players in the group.
Just today, rookie Vodacom Super Rugby players Tazz Fuzani and Sikhumbuzo Notshe arrived in Brisbane as replacements for injured players, having joined fellow young guns like Jurie van Vuuren and Stephan Coetzee before them.
Van Vuuren and Notshe are still eligible for the DHL Western Province Under-21 team this year, but could find themselves pressed into action in some way in the Stormers’ final tour match of 2014 – against the Reds in Brisbane this Saturday (kick-off 10h40 SA time).
Speaking from his team’s hotel on the Gold Coast on Tuesday evening (Australian time), Fourie told the www.iamastormer.com website: “It’s never great to lose players to injury, but when you see the youngsters arrive with a spring in their step it keeps you feeling positive.
“I remember my first Vodacom Super Rugby tour, having flown over as a replacement myself, and you can see that these guys are determined to make their mark and challenge for a full-time place.
“For us, as the senior guys, we try to help and guide the newer guys as much as possible, but having these new guys in the mix, learning their trade at Super Rugby level, can only be a good thing for WP Rugby in the future.”
Fourie made his DHL Stormers debut back in 2008 – as a replacement against the Crusaders – making his first start in 2010 (in the No.2 jersey).
This week he looks set to return to the front row, having served the team so well in the back row up until now this season, but injuries have necessitated yet another enforced – and injury-related – switch to the DHL Stormers pack.
“I haven’t played at hooker since last year’s (Super Rugby) tour, but it’s not as if I’ve never played there before,” he said. “It’s all about getting one’s rhythm back (as a hooker) and once you’ve got that back it’s kind of like riding a bicycle – you never forget the finer details.”
The Reds and DHL Stormers have met on eight previous occasions in Brisbane, with both teams boasting four victories each.
The Men from Brisbane, however, are back home from a tough two-match tour of South Africa – not doubt eager to prove themselves at the Suncorp Stadium.
The DHL Stormers’ all-action forward said: “They’ll be hurting… but so are we after a similarly tough tour.
“I guess they would like to prove themselves against a fourth South African team (in a row), having also played the Cheetahs before their tour, but we’re pretty desperate for a win too.
“Yes, we haven’t picked up a win on tour yet, but we’re still positive and determined to head home with a valuable win under the belt,” added Fourie.
“We still have seven home games ahead of us (between now and July), along with a few away games against SA opposition, but we would dearly like to return home with some momentum which a win over the Reds would certainly provide.”
The DHL Stormers team, to face the Reds, will be announced on Wednesday mid-morning (SA time).