Some of his greatest achievements on the rugby field have happened while he was wearing the number 6 on his back, but that does not necessarily mean that Western Province captain Deon Fourie is done with playing hooker.
Fourie, who started playing flanker as a stop-gap during the Stormers’ 2012 Super Rugby campaign, has excelled at the side of the scrum and has led his side to two successive Currie Cup finals, winning the 2012 edition.
And although he agrees that people might see him primarily as a flanker at the moment, Fourie tells MyPlayers in an exclusive interview that he isn’t quite ready to call it quits on the number 2 jersey.
“If you ask me to fill in my position on a form, I’ll put down 26,” he laughs. “I’m very much a flanker/hooker.
“Everyone knows that you play where the team needs you and in last year the Stormers needed me to be a loose forward. Luckily I was able to step into that position and it went well. I really enjoyed playing flanker but I am not ready to close the door on playing hooker. It’s a little tough if you’re not sure where you stand.
“The thing about playing hooker is that it is a specialist position and I don’t think a union can ever have enough hookers. If there is an emergency I could always slot in there and who knows, maybe I’ll be playing there again next year. It’s all a little unsure at this stage because I haven’t had that particular discussion with the coach yet.
“But with Schalk Burger back to full fitness again and with Scarra Ntubeni becoming a Springbok and Tiaan Liebenberg coming back, there are a lot of options available so we will have to see where I fit in.”
According to Fourie, the only real difference between playing hooker and flank is the responsibility of throwing in at the lineout.
“It’s quite a big thing because you don’t practise that particular area of the game during the week when you are going to play flanker and when a situation arises during a game where you have to move to hooker it’s really tough in the lineouts. But apart from that there isn’t really any difference in how you play the game,” he says.
Fourie adds that is loving the responsibility of captaincy. “I have always been a natural leader and it has been going quite well since I’ve started captaining WP. I’m not a guy who talks a lot. I prefer to lead by setting an example. That is the way that has always worked best for me.”