He's a team man through and through
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee admits Deon Fourie is 'a natural' openside flank but says he will likely continue his duel role at the franchise.
An ongoing loose forward injury crisis that has dogged the Stormers for the past two seasons initially led to Fourie shifting from his regular hooking berth to provide cover in the back row last year.
Fourie not only coped but thrived in his new role, using his pace, timing and low centre of gravity to target the breakdown and win turnovers with remarkable consistency.
He went on to captain Western Province to their first Currie Cup title in 11 years in the No.6 jersey and walked off with the Currie Cup Player of the Year gong at the South African Rugby Union Awards.
Fourie reverted to hooker at the start of the Super Rugby season but has since been alternating between hooker and flank for most of the campaign as the Stormers have again been hit hard by injuries.
Coetzee, ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth, praised Fourie for putting the team’s needs ahead of his own.
"He's a team man through and through," said Coetzee.
"He doesn't mind where he plays. He's always said it's about where he's needed in the team, in the best interests of the team."
Coetzee said Fourie's versatility made him worth twice his weight in gold but also made it difficult to say in which position his long-term future lies.
"It's always great to have a versatile player like Deon. In any team, if you have a loose forward who can throw the ball in [to the line-out] it's an added bonus. I don't think Deon will ever not play two again, so it's good to have a player like that," he said.
"Deon's got pace, he's good on the ground and he plays towards the ball, so it comes naturally as an opensider. He plays as an opensider at hooker too and it's well known that a hooker should be a fourth loose forward, so he does it naturally."