Back pushes Fourie's England claims
May 5, 2010
Fourie made his England Saxons debut against Italy in February © Getty Images
Leeds Carnegie head coach Neil Back insists flanker Hendre Fourie deserves a place on England's forthcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The South African-born Fourie, who qualified for England last year on residency grounds, only made his Saxons bow against Italy earlier this year but his club boss believes the 30-year-old is ready to step up to the full squad having spearheaded Leeds' successful battle for survival in this season's Guinness Premiership.
"I believe Hendre will go with the full England squad to Australia," Back told BBC Radio Leeds. "If you like a bet, go and put your money on now for Hendre Fourie to be involved in the World Cup next summer."
Back, a Rugby World Cup winner with England in 2003, went on to hail Fourie as a key factor in Leeds' recent success. "Hendre is an example of the change in mentality and professionalism that has happened over the last two years at Leeds. He now knows what it is to be a professional and how to operate as a professional. That means he is now maximising his potential, which he never did in the past.
"On the back of that he is now, for me, the outstanding number seven in the Premiership. Because of that he has now played for the Saxons and been involved in full England training. I believe he will now go on the summer tour and go on from there with England."
Born in Burgersdorp within South Africa's Eastern Cap, Fourie moved to the UK in 2005 to link up with Rotherham Titans having previously played for Shimlas, Maties and the Cheetahs. He signed for Leeds in 2007 and was dogged by injury but he was a key player in Leeds' return to the top flight. He has since carved out a reputation as one of the finest flankers in the Premiership and trained with the full England squad for the latter stages of this year's Six Nations.