Jaque Fourie’s agent has denied that the Springbok centre has signed with French club Clermont Auvergne just yet.
In recent months Fourie has been linked with many European clubs but now French websites have him listed as one of the club’s new signings for next season. However, his agent Peet van Zyl said talks are still ongoing with the Top 14 runners-up.
‘They have shown huge interest but Jaque is not leaving at this point in time,’ Van Zyl told keo.co.za. ‘We still need to discuss Jaque’s future with SA Rugby and the Lions, so Clermont are pre-empting things at this point.’
Fourie and his agent held talks with the Golden Lions at the end of May, but now the discussions will go into their second round.
‘We will be meeting again next week when the Springboks come up to Johannesburg. SA Rugby obviously want him as part of their plans for the future leading up to the 2011 World Cup.’
Fourie has come through the ranks at the Lions, being born in the province and going on to represent the Craven Week side. With the current re-structuring and clean-out at the union, Fourie is still waiting to see whether they have the potential to be competitive in the Super 14.
‘We want to find out who the coach for the Super 14 will be next year and what players will be brought in. Financially they can’t compete, but looking ahead it must be worthwhile for Jaque to stay until the 2011 World Cup,’ said Van Zyl.
Despite a solid Super 14, Fourie’s undoubted potential has yet to be reached at the Lions. Van Zyl said, however, that it would be impossible for him to move to a top South African union.
‘His Lions contract lasts until October 2010. They would release him to play overseas as they aren’t able to compete financially, but out of principle they wouldn’t let him play for another South African team as Jaque would then be playing against them.’
SA Rugby and Western Province ensured a major coup for the country’s rugby when they held on to Schalk Burger earlier this week. Keeping Fourie in South Africa would be a boon of similar proportions.
Meanwhile, former Springbok No 8 Jacques Cronje will be moving from Biarritz to join Frans Steyn at Racing Metro. Lions lock Dewald Senekal, who was injured throughout the Super 14, will be heading to Toulon.
By Grant Ball