It’s been a crazy and exciting ride
A fired up Jaque Fourie regards the Springboks’ end-of-year-tour of Europe as the first step of his journey to the 2015 World Cup.
Fourie and Toulon’s Bakkies Botha were on Monday included in Heyneke Meyer’s 32-man for the year-end Tests against Wales, Scotland and France.
The World Cup-winning pair last played for South Africa in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal defeat to the Wallabies, after which Fourie continued his career in Japan.
Upon joining the Kolbe Steelers, the 69-Test centre made himself unavailable for Springbok selection for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
His dedication and commitment to the Japanese club over the past two seasons earned Fourie the trust and respect of the club’s top brass, who earlier this month agreed to a new two-year deal that allows Fourie to play Test rugby.
Meyer wasted little time in recalling Fourie, who’s set to follow in the footsteps of fellow Japan-based Springbok veteran Fourie du Preez by making a surprise 2013 return to the international stage.
Fourie, who’s currently in South Africa, said he’s excited to be back in the Springbok fold and is determined to cement his place in the squad to realise his goal of playing in a fourth World Cup in England in 2015.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s always an honour and a privilege to come back and play for your country,” Fourie told BallzRadio on Wednesday.
“I set a goal for myself that I want to play in the 2015 World Cup and to get a chance now to come back with Heyneke [Meyer] and new systems is awesome. I’m really looking forward to the couple of games we’re playing in Europe.”
Fourie said he’s thoroughly enjoyed his time and rugby in Japan thus far but admitted that despite having one lesson a week, he’s far from mastering the Japanese language.
“For me and my wife it’s been a crazy and exciting ride and we enjoy it very much. The rugby is semi-professional; the guys work and then we train.
“It’s a different culture. The Japanese are very polite and helpful. I enjoy it there tremendously but in saying that, it’s awesome coming back and getting a call back to play for your country.”
Fourie said his passion and drive to be the best player he can be will ensure he’s not undercooked when he makes his impending on-field comeback for the Springboks.
“Every time I go on to the field, if it’s against New Zealand or a Japanese side, I want to do my best and I pride myself on that. Most of the guys, Fourie as well, have that passion and enjoys what he does, so every time we go on to the field we give 100 percent.”
The 30-year-old added that playing much less rugby in Japan than he did in South Africa has left him feeling fresh and reinvigorated.
“At the most in a season you’ll play about 25 games. Come Monday, Tuesday [following a weekend game] your body is fresh for the week’s training, so that’s a big, big, big help for us.”
He elaborated: “Our pre-season started on the 23rd of May and we had a three-month pre-season, which is pretty long. The first half of the competition has finished now, we played seven games. They’ve got a month off now for their internationals and when we go back we play the other seven games.”