Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Players support Fourie over deportation

Hendre Fourie was forced to retire last week and may have to return to South Africa

England internationals past and present have voiced their support for Hendre Fourie after the former flanker revealed he is facing deportation to South Africa.

The 33-year-old, whose 18-month-old son Hendro was born in England, has been in the country for eight years, playing for Rotherham, Leeds and Sale and winning eight caps for the Red Rose in 2010 and 2011.

However, he was forced to retire last week because of a shoulder injury and consequently had his contract cancelled by the Sharks, meaning his visa is no longer valid. Upon hearing of Fourie's plight, many of his peers took to Twitter and started a campaign to support him using the hashtags #FourieToStay or #SaveShrek.

Harlequins and England full-back Mike Brown, scrum-half Danny Care, wing Ugo Monye, Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan, Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson, Biarritz wing Iain Balshaw and London Irish's Shane Geraghty were among those to post the messages on their Twitter accounts.

Sale asked club supporters to use the two hashtags through their official Twitter feed, which were posted by Sharks players Danny Cipriani, Cameron Shepherd and Andy Powell, while former Wales number eight Scott Quinnell also added his support.

Fourie had told The Times: "I can play for England but I can't get a passport to stay in the country.

"If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got residency, but unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen.

"My wife (Corlia) is South African, but my boy was born here and I would like to have stayed here and tried to get a teaching job. There were options to appeal but I would have had to wait another few years before I could get my permanent residency.

"It has been a red tape nightmare and we just decided it was not worth all the hassle.

"That's the amazing thing, I am not able to claim any benefits in this country. I have always paid my taxes, have represented England, but I have to leave while you hear how they protect the rights of terrorists."

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