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Fourie's heart with England

Hendre Fourie insists there is no conflict between his Afrikaner heritage and his new future as an England rugby international.

Fourie hails from the sheep-farming town of Burgersdorp, the oldest in South Africa's eastern cape, and a battleground of the second Boer War. The English are not historically popular.

Asked whether he had any historical issues in donning the red rose, Fourie said: "No, not really. I am still proud of where I come from, my heritage, but I am here now."

Burgersdorp is the site of the country's earliest Dutch language monument and Fourie did not start learning English until he was nine years old.

But modern international rugby is not restricted by language, birthplace or heritage. Fourie has followed Maori, Nigerians and fellow South Africans in playing for England.

On Saturday, the Leeds flanker with the broad Afrikaans accent will make his first Test start against Samoa, having won caps off the bench against New Zealand and Australia.

He added: "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."


From Belfast Telegraph