England stars support Hendre Fourie as retired flanker faces deportation
England stars have voiced their support for Hendre Fourie with the retired flanker facing deportation to South Africa.
Last Updated: 08/01/13 11:50am
The 33-year-old, whose 18-month-old son Hendro was born in England, has been in the country for eight years, playing for Rotherham, Leeds and Sale and winning eight caps for the Red Rose in 2010 and 2011.
But Fourie's visa is no longer valid after being forced to retire last week because of a shoulder injury and his contract cancelled by the Sharks.
Harlequins and England full-back Mike Brown, scrum-half Danny Care, wing Ugo Monye, Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan, Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson, Biarritz wing Iain Balshaw and London Irish's Shane Geraghty were among those to tweet messages of support.
Fourie told The Times: "I can play for England but I can't get a passport to stay in the country. If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got residency.
"Unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen. My wife Corlia is South African, but my boy was born here and I would like to have stayed here 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."
Sale asked club supporters to use two hashtags #FourieToStay or #SaveShrek through their official Twitter feed.
These were posted by Sharks players Danny Cipriani, Cameron Shepherd and Andy Powell, while former Wales number eight Scott Quinnell also added his support.