Union tries to stop Fourie's deportation
Retired England flanker to be sent back to South Africa in 60 days as his visa is no longer valid
Hendre Fourie may have resigned himself to an early return to his native South Africa – the England flanker retired on medical advice last week and no longer has a work visa – but the players' union is exploring every avenue, legal and political, in a bid to find grounds for an appeal that might win him the right to stay in the country. Fourie suffered what turned out to be a career-ending shoulder injury while on red-rose duty in the run-up to the 2011 World Cup, and his current plight has upset many of his fellow professionals.
The Rugby Players' Association has been working on his behalf in recent weeks and while there is no immediate prospect of the organisation finding a way through the thicket of residency legislation that was not framed with such an unusual case in mind, senior figures have not given up on the cause. There is, however, some urgency about the situation. As things stand, Fourie must leave England within 60 days.
Fourie, now 31, hails from the Eastern Cape town of Burgersdorp and qualified for England on residency grounds after joining Rotherham in 2005. One of the most effective ball-winning flankers in the English game, he won eight caps for his adopted country between 2010 and 2011. Yesterday, he said he was keen to start a teaching career here, but conceded that his case had turned into a "red-tape nightmare". He added: "I always paid my taxes and represented England, yet I have to leave – while you hear how they protect the rights of terrorists."
Meanwhile, one of Fourie's old England colleagues, the Leicester outside-half Toby Flood, appears before an RFU disciplinary tribunal tonight, charged with making an illegal tip-tackle on Andy Goode of Worcester at Sixways last Friday. Flood has no history of indiscipline and can therefore expect a relatively light punishment, even though tip-tackling is the sport's "crime of the moment" and is frowned upon by the International Rugby Board. A suspension of two weeks or less will come as a relief to the national coach Stuart Lancaster, who is expected to include Flood in his squad for next month's Six Nations when he names it tomorrow.
Wales, badly hit by injuries in most areas of their side and not given much chance of retaining the title they won in Grand Slam style last year, have lost the gifted Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart for good. Stoddart, just 28, suffered a double fracture of the leg during a World Cup warm-up match with England in August 2011 and has barely played since. Yesterday, he confirmed his retirement from the game.
"It's not easy to give up your rugby career but when it really is impossible to carry on you just have to accept it and get on with it," said Stoddart, who combined studies in biochemistry with his professional sporting commitments. "It's important to give yourself time to consider the future after such an intense life playing rugby, but I've already started thinking ahead."
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Manchester City vs Manchester United analysis: Manuel Pellegrini has no excuse for City's lack of a Plan B, writes Danny Higginbotham
Chelsea injury list: Loic Remy lead the Blues' absent players while Diego Costa is set to return
Radamel Falcao: Manchester United ready to seal permanent transfer of striker as 'everything is complete' to extend his Old Trafford stay
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything