Sport

‘I can play for England but can’t stay in country’: Ex-Sale Sharks flanker Hendre Fourie faces deportation after retirement

By Ed Owen

Former Sale Sharks flanker Hendre Fourie could be deported from the country following his retirement from rugby last week.

Fourie – who won eight caps for England – faces a return to his native South Africa following the shoulder injury which forced his retirement announcement on January 4.

Despite living in the United Kingdom for eight years, the England international’s visa was invalidated following the cancellation of his contract.

“I can play for England but I can’t get a passport to stay in the country,” said Fourie, speaking to the Times.

“If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got residency, but unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen.

“My wife is South African, but my boy was born here and I would like to have stayed here and tried to get a teaching job.”

The 33-year-old joined Sale from Leeds in 2011, in a career which also saw him turn out for Rotherham Titans.

However, the move was blighted by problems as Fourie suffered a number of injury setbacks – in his 18 months at Sale he only spent 124 minutes on the field.

And this latest turn of events has left the South Africa-born player shocked and disappointed at his treatment from the authorities.

“There were options to appeal but I would have had to wait another few years before I could get my permanent residency,” he said.

“It has been a red-tape nightmare and we just decided it was not worth all the hassle.

“That’s the amazing thing – I am not able to claim any benefits in this country. I have always paid my taxes, have represented England, but I have to leave while you hear how they protect the rights of terrorists.

“I am not angry. We have a lot of family in South Africa, which will be good for Hendro [his 18-month-old son] but it is just frustrating the way things have worked out.”

Picture courtesy of ESPNUK via YouTube, with thanks

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