‘It’s something I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid’ – Fourie

A much-relieved Hawies Fourie (left) with the forward coach, Izak van der Westhuizen, after the Cheetahs beat the Pumas 25-17 in the Currie Cup final in Bloemfontein on Saturday. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Toyota Cheetahs coach, Hawies Fourie, was a very relieved man on Saturday evening after his team put in arguably their finest performance of the season to win the Currie Cup for a seventh time.

It’s the first time that Fourie has won the Currie Cup as the head coach, however, in 2007, he was an assistant when they beat the Bulls 20-18 in Bloemfontein. When the Free State won in 2019, Fourie was already appointed as the coach, however, he was unable to guide the team through the campaign due to illness, and he watched the final from a hospital bed. Franco Smith agreed to coach the team one last time before heading to Italy. The Cheetahs won the 2019 final against the Lions 31-28.

Fourie told Bloemfontein Courant that finally winning the Currie Cup as a coach was a dream come true as he had supported the Cheetahs since he was a boy. The first-ever game he watched on television was in 1976 when the Free State beat Western Province 33-16 to win the competition for the first time.

“It is special and it’s something that I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid,” Fourie said.

“The first game of rugby I watched on TV was the 1976 final between the Free State and the Western Province. Since then, I’ve been a Free State supporter. So, to be in this position to win the Currie Cup as the coach of a team I’ve been supporting as a kid is special.”

After a gruelling 11-month-long campaign, Fourie, said he is going to head to the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga for a couple of days for a well-deserved break before the team gets together at the end of July to start their next campaign. –  MORGAN PIEK