Coetzee: Fourie a Test-level fetcher

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:59
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Western Province coach Allister Coetzee believes Deon Fourie has a better chance of playing Test rugby at flank than at hooker.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee believes Deon Fourie has a better chance of playing Test rugby at flank than at hooker.

The versatile Fourie, who captained Western Province in their triumphant Currie Cup campaign last season, has alternated between hooker and flank in recent seasons.

His performances in the back row have suggested he is best suited for the roaming role at the side of the scrum, yet his proficiency at hooker and accurate line-out throwing will see him continue his duel role for the Cape side.

Coetzee on Wednesday acknowledged that Fourie is a natural flank and felt he could well find himself in the Springbok back row in the future.

“He was right up there in terms of openside flanks in Super Rugby,” said Coetzee.

“His decision-making and understanding of the laws as an openside is unbelievable. It’s not just the stealing, the turnovers he creates, but his workrate.

“The amount of ball carries and the amount of rucks he hits is phenomenal. Another attribute to have as an openside flank is speed and Deon is very quick.

“He’s also a fantastic leader. He doesn’t talk much but when he does the players listen. When there’s a problem he addresses it and he has a solution, that’s what makes him a good leader.”

Coetzee added that first-choice hooker Tiaan Liebenberg will return to light training on Monday and is a maximum of three weeks away from returning to action, while Springbok stalwart Schalk Burger is doing individual training and taking “baby steps” on his road to recovery.

Duane Vermeulen and Siya Kolisi have both recovered from injury and took semi contact on Wednesday, but Coetzee conceded that the duo are likely to be drafted straight into the Springbok squad.

“I’d love to see them play a Currie Cup game or two [first] but they are crucial players for the Boks as well so I doubt it,” he said.  

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth had an ingrown toe nail removed but is expected to return to training on Thursday while utility forwards Rynhardt Elstadt and Michael Rhodes are both back to full fitness.

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