Leeds Carnegie: Survival is all that matters to Fourie

Hendrie Fourie
Hendrie Fourie
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HENDRE FOURIE will address his Leeds Carnegie future after Saturday’s showdown at Northampton Saints but admits, in an ideal world, he would like to stay.

The England international is putting his personal situation on hold with Carnegie’s relegation fate still in the melting pot – amid speculation he will follow Red Rose team-mate Steve Thompson out of the exit door if the club are relegated.

Fourie, who has a year left on his contract, is hoping Carnegie complete a second Great Escape and survive in the top-flight.

“I’m just thinking about this game at the moment. There’s a lot of things depending on the outcome of Saturday.

“Get this game out of the way and we win and there’s going to be no decisions to be made.”

But, if the Yorkshiremen remain bottom of the Aviva Premiership after the trip to Franklin’s Gardens, Fourie will meet the club and his representatives next week, though a Championship play-off victory for Cornish Pirates over Worcester could yet hand Leeds a shock reprieve.

There would be no shortage of takers for Fourie, who knows that being at a Championship club could significantly impact on his World Cup dreams with England.

The ex-Rotherham Titans player, a revelation after being handed his big break in the Premiership by Carnegie in 2007-08, said: “I think it’s an awesome place to play at; we just need a better rugby team and results going our way. It’s been a long journey and I’d like to continue on it.

“Leeds can be one of the better clubs. Other people need to buy into that and maybe see what it is like up here.

“If we can a few good players in certain positions, I think we can do that.”

Meanwhile, Fourie insists the current system of promotion and relegation – expected to remain until 2016 – is flawed and feels the Premier Rugby and RFU overlords should adopt a franchise system along the lines of the one currently operated in rugby league.

He said: “It’s the only (rugby) place in the world that still has promotion and relegation.

“What the league (Super League) has done has been pretty awesome for English rugby league globally.

“When I came over for the first time to the UK, there were the bottom teams fighting and scrapping for relegation and the top teams, like Leeds, winning three championships in a row.

“Now, the likes of Castleford, Huddersfield and Warrington are all in finals and playing in the top half and beating Leeds Rhinos, while the likes of Bradford Bulls aren’t one of the top teams around (anymore) either.

“That’s just because teams aren’t afraid of relegation. League has gone from strength to strength, so why not give it a try?

“There’s also only one (union) team that can be promoted from the Championship at the end of this season as the other (three) teams don’t fit the criteria, so there’s another flaw there in the system.

“If there’s no relegation, you will also breed a lot more young English players and you don’t have to go for the big guns from the southern hemisphere to ensure your team doesn’t get relegated.”

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