Former England flank Hendre Fourie is set to be deported following his premature retirement due to injury.
The South African left the Cheetahs in 2005 to play for Rotherham, before signing for Leeds and qualifying to play Test rugby for England. He made his debut as a replacement against the All Blacks in November 2010 and played the last of his eight Tests against Ireland at the 2011 World Cup.
Last week, a debilitating shoulder injury forced Fourie to retire at the age of 33 (since joining Sale 18 months ago, he had managed to play only 124 minutes for the club).
However, once Fourie’s contract was cancelled by Sale, his sports people visa expired and he was notified that he had to leave the country by the end of the month.
‘I can play for England but I can’t get a passport to stay in the country,’ Fourie told The Times of London. ‘If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got permanent residency, but unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen.
‘My wife [Corlia] is South African, but my boy [Hendro] was born here and I would have like to have stayed and tried to get a teaching job. There were options to appeal but I would have had to wait another few years before I could get my permanent residency.
‘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, but it is just frustrating the way things have worked out.’