Fourie to stay in Japan

Stormers centre Jaque Fourie will be paid a handsome sum to remain in Japan and miss the 2012 Super Rugby campaign. reported last week that Fourie was unlikely to return from the Wild Knights club, and on Friday, the Stormers confirmed that the Bok star is set to accept a R22 million offer for two years to keep him in the far east.

‘Jaque Fourie, who is currently playing rugby for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan’s Top League, will not return to South Africa in 2012/13 to play Super, or domestic rugby,’ said WP managing director Rob Wagner in a statement.

‘He has opted not to renew his contract in South Africa, having secured what is believed to be one of the biggest contracts in Rugby Union, also in Japan. Fourie will for the next two years play for the Kobe Steelers.

‘Fourie’s two year contract with WP Rugby ended after the 2011 Currie Cup and despite efforts to secure his services, Jaque has opted not to return. The deal is simply too big for us as a South African franchise. Whilst we are obviously disappointed, Jaque made a huge impact during his stay in the Cape and we wish him well with his career in Japan.’

The Stormers have already lost the talented young Johann Sadie to the Bulls, while another promising centre with Super Rugby experience, Tim Whitehead, is now at the Sharks.

News that Fourie won’t be back will be frustrating for Stormers officials. It’s believed that Sadie made the move to the Bulls because he felt he would struggle to get game time ahead of Fourie in 2012. Now that the Fourie is gone, the Stormers have lost two gamebreaking figures.

The Stormers will rely heavily on Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh in midfield, but outside of the Bok pair, they will be short on quality centre options. Adi Jacobs may be handed a contract now that the Stormers know Fourie won’t be back, but the Sharks’ discard is hardly in the form of his life.