Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Hawies Fourie living the dream after Cheetahs’ Currie Cup triumph

"It is special and it’s something that I've dreamt about since I was a kid."

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie is literally living the dream after his side triumphed in the final of the Currie Cup on Saturday, beating the Pumas 25-17 to lift their seventh title.

Fourie spoke before the match about how this was the biggest game of his over two decade long coaching career and afterwrds admitted that winning the title as head coach was a dream come true.

ALSO READ: Calm performance helped Cheetahs seal Currie Cup win over Pumas

“It is special and it’s something that I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid. The first game of rugby I watched on TV as a kid was the 1976 final between Free State and Western Province,” explained Fourie.

“Since then, I became a Free State supporter, so to be in this position to win the trophy as the coach of a team I’ve been supporting as a kid is special.”

Thrilling game

The game was a thrilling back and forth affair, with the Cheetahs taking the lead on numerous occasions, however. the never-say-die Pumas kept fighting back, staying in the game right until the final whistle.

The Cheetahs were grateful to a number of their senior players, with the evergreen Ruan Pienaar again putting in a superb showing at flyhalf to help his side pick up the win, and Fourie was effusive in his praise for the stalwart who recently signed a contract extension with the union.

“When we played Pro14 rugby, some of the overseas media asked about his BMT (big match temperament) and his involvement in the game and that was three years ago,” said Fourie about Pienaar.

“He’s still going and probably is the hardest worker in our team at that age, which is why he can still play high-quality rugby.

“He’s an unbelievable person, rugby player, and father for his kids as well. It’s a privilege to have the experience and quality of Ruan in our squad.”

Bad luck

Fourie was also thrilled to finally get the monkey off his back after he joked that he had been a bad luck charm for the union since returning as head coach in 2019.

“I don’t know if I brought the bad luck, but hopefully it changes after tonight. In 2019 things went a bit against us. First, it was Covid, then we got kicked out of Pro (URC) Rugby,” said Fourie.

“Since that defeat last year (in the semi-final), we worked really hard, and we are seeing the dividends tonight.”

Despite the disappointment of losing the final, Pumas captain Shane Kirkwood was extremely proud of his charges and claimed that it was only really the players and management themselves that believed they could make back to back finals.

“It’s obviously massive. People don’t really back us to be here beside ourselves and we use that as motivation. Every week we train and work hard and getting here is our goal. So it is massive for us as a union and Mpumalanga as a whole,” said Kirkwood.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits