Durban — Deon Fourie has the nickname “branna” on account of his liking for a certain beverage and after he makes his debut for the Boks on Saturday in the second Test against Wales, a ‘double branna” will surely help him celebrate the occasion.
Fourie, who was named on the bench in an overhauled Springbok team, will have an additional reason to celebrate because he will break the record for the oldest player to make his Springbok debut, eclipsing Transvaal flank Deon Lotter, who also made his debut at 36 (in 1993), but Fourie will be a few months older than Lotter was.
“It is fitting that it is all happening in Bloemfontein for me because that is where the “branna” nickname originated way back in 2007, at Bloemfontein Airport, but maybe let’s cut the story short there,” he laughed.
On a more serious note, Fourie said that he had just about lost hope of playing for the Springboks when he left Western Province to play in France after having played for the Blitzboks in 2007.
“Seven years ago when I went overseas I put any hope of the Boks on the backburner,” he said from the Bok hotel in Bloemfontein. “Then when I came back to SA, in my first URC game I broke my cheekbone, so it was not a good start, but luckily things picked up from there…
Fourie says he was in the first aid room at the Cape Town stadium receiving stitches in his lip after the URC semi-final when John Dobson informed of his call-up.
“Every rugby player from the age of four until he retires dreams of playing for the Boks, and for it to happen to me at last just proves that people should never give up on their dreams.
“I am just so honoured to be sitting here talking about it after so long, and it is going to be so special. My family is super excited. My mom is even more emotional than me and she will be there, as will my wife and two children, so I am going to have to make sure I keep my emotions in check.”
Fourie’s mongrel approach to the breakdowns was key to the Stormers’ success and he emerged bloodied after almost every game.
Will he bleed more for the Springboks than he did for the Stormers? “I hope so. You want to for the Springboks…, he said with just a hint of a tear in his eyes.