Deon Fourie’s second stint as a DHL Stormer has been a resounding success in every sense. Fourie found his way back home, not just geographically but also to a team that has allowed him to thrive on and off the pitch.
The story of Fourie, captain and loose forward for the DHL Stormers, is a story that celebrates family, resilience, and the sweet taste of success.
Tracing his steps back to South Africa and DHL Western Province in 2021, after stints at French clubs Grenoble and Lyon, Fourie’s comeback wasn’t merely about rugby, it was a return to a team and a city that means a lot to him.
At 36, Fourie not only earned a call-up to the Springboks in 2022 but etched his name in history as the oldest SA Test debutant. His family, especially his wife Jean-Marie and their two children, Jamie and Brinley Belle, have provided unwavering support throughout his remarkable career.
“Both my kids were born in France, so they’ve got a bit of French blood in them but I’m trying to teach them more Afrikaans than French!” Fourie explained.
“After [the 2020 lockdown] we decided we need to come back and get around friends and family.”
His exceptional performances in the inaugural Vodacom URC with the DHL Stormers paved the way for a fairy-tale journey, propelling the Capetonians to their first major franchise trophy in 2021/22, before captaining his country to victory in the final minutes of the 2023 Rugby World Cup final.
He turns 38 in September, and when questioned about what drives the old warrior to keep charging forward, Fourie’s motivation remains unwavering.
“Don’t ask me what the secret to youth is on a Sunday or Monday after a game,” he joked. “But I just think the energy in the DHL Stormers side rubs off on me.
“My son is also starting to understand rugby, so I need to keep him inspired and happy when I play. So that’s probably my inspiration to keep on playing well.
“My family and I couldn’t be happier to be in Cape Town and I want to show my gratitude through my performances on the pitch.”
Given his age, Fourie’s homecoming was relatively low-key, but the 2012 Currie Cup winner’s leadership and versatility has rewarded the faith shown in him by DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson.
“I’d love to claim that I saw Deon coming here and being a match-winner, but I can’t do that,” Dobson admitted.
“The intention when we heard Deon was available was to bring him back for his experience. He’d been a DHL WP captain and had played a lot of rugby both here and overseas and we wanted him to bring experience that would rub off on the other players.
“We didn’t even necessarily see him as a starter. That just happened, he took his opportunity, and then built into it from there.”
Now a World Cup winning Springbok, Fourie provides vital leadership in the DHL Stormers set-up on top of the full commitment to the cause he shows every time he steps on the pitch.
With his family settled and happy in Cape Town, ‘Brannas’ looks set to continue to push himself to keep getting better.
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