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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Boks’ Deon Fourie reflects on ‘confidence-building’ showing against Tonga

“There’s not much difference between hooker and flanker, apart from the scrumming and line-outs."

Springbok utility forward Deon Fourie’s man of the match performance in the 49-18 win over Tonga on Sunday in Marseille was one of the best individual performances witnessed at the Rugby World Cup in France so far.

It was a near-perfect performance from Fourie; he started the match at hooker and moved to flank in the second stanza and was given a rating of 9/10 by The Citizen.

He was colossal in all areas; he covered the ground well, was devastating at the breakdown, was clinical with his lineout throws and also scored a try.

Considering his career as a Springbok started late, Fourie is enjoying every moment; he’s living his boyhood dream.


Whenever the television camera was on him, there was a big smile on his face, proof he was having fun and enjoying himself. He had the aura of a seasoned international rugby player.

“I was way more relaxed than the last two games,” said Fourie when reflecting on his performance against Tonga.

“Romania gave me a bit of confidence, and especially Ireland with that last throw. I know Marvin Orie from the Stormers, we played for two years together so our synchronisation worked well. I think I just lost one line-out tonight so that gives me confidence,” he said.

Having played hooker in his formative years, Fourie’s had to reinvent himself in the later chapters of his career, after playing flank for so long.

He’s recently established himself as one of the best No 6s in South Africa; his knowledge of the two positions working well against Tonga and at times it was as if the influential Malcolm Marx was still on the field and involved in the action, such was Fourie’s impact.

Hooker and flank

Fourie explained how the two positions — hooker and flank — have merged into one in modern rugby.

“There’s not much difference between hooker and flanker, apart from the scrumming and lineouts.

“After that, it’s open play, and at the moment how the game’s evolved, you can see how Malcolm Marx plays, he’s almost like a flanker as well,” Fourie said.

As the Springboks are on top of Pool B with 15 points after their four games, they are primed for a spot in the last eight. The 36-year-old will play an important role as the tournament moves on to the knockout stages.

He’s going to form an integral part of the “Bomb Squad” as the hooker cover. Seeing he’s playing his best rugby at the moment, Fourie has noted that fitness is an area he wants to improve on based on his display against Tonga.

“I haven’t played 80 minutes in a long time, so I need to probably do a bit more fitness,” he said.

“I was quite tired on 65 minutes, I didn’t see how I was going to finish this off with 15 minutes to go.”