Sharks snap up Fourie
Leeds to receive a transfer fee after flanker opts to join Sale
By Tony Curtis - Twitter: @SkySportsTC. Last Updated: 27/05/11 3:57pm
Fourie: Has agreed a two-year deal at Sale
Sale have won the race to sign England flanker Hendre Fourie after they agreed an undisclosed fee with Leeds.
South Africa-born Fourie, who moved to England in 2005, still had 12 months to run on his deal at Headingley.
However Leeds had announced they would allow Fourie to explore his options elsewhere in the aftermath of the club's relegation.
London Irish had been the early favourites to sign Fourie, who has been capped six times, however he has now opted to sign a two-year deal at the Sharks.
"We always had our tabs on him but it proved to be a lengthy negotiation but it's well worth the wait and we look forward to him joining us post World Cup."
Steve Diamond Quotes of the week
And Sale executive director Steve Diamond is thrilled to have beaten off the competition for the highly-rated flanker.
Diamond told Sky Sports News Radio: "Obviously when a player of his ability comes available - and we know his impact on the Premiership and his impact at England - we always had our tabs on him but it proved to be a lengthy negotiation but it's well worth the wait and we look forward to him joining us post World Cup.
"I think (he chose Sale Sharks because) he is a born-again Northerner, he comes from South Africa but he settled in Rotherham initially and likes the sort of Northern way I think and was reluctant to go to the South.
"I know Newcastle came in late on but I think he has seen the investment that's gone in at the Sharks with Brian Kennedy and the dismantling of a poor team and the assembling of hopefully a competitive environment and he was sold on that really."
He added: "His abilities on the floor, his ability at the breakdown are second to none, there's nobody in Europe can match him I don't think - maybe Richie McCaw and one or two others - I wouldn't say that he's up to their level but what I would say is for the Premiership, he is outstanding."
Fourie is the fourth Leeds player to move to Sale, with Kearnan Myall, Scott Mathie and Luther Burrell also making the switch.
Asked if there would be a problem with their morale following relegation, he replied: "No I think Leeds were unlucky - Leeds, Sale and Newcastle were all probably about the same at the end of the season and Leeds were unlucky to go down I think.
"But I've managed to procure what I consider to be the four or five best players out of Leeds.
"What they do have is a good workmanlike ethic under Neil Back and I'm sure they'll add that sort of doggedness into our side."
Fourie is Sale's 17th summer recruit and Diamond admitted they were still in the hunt for a full-back.
"To be honest that's pretty much it, we are looking for a full-back.
"I'm in France at the moment - I'm going to watch Toulouse this week - so we have got our tabs on a couple of outside backs who we're after.
"But again the process is getting the recruitment right, not just bringing names in, making sure they fit in, that's why I'm spending some time over here."
Diamond would not name names but added: "We're after a top class Number 15."
Looking forward to the new campaign, he said: "I just think - no disrespect to the previous coaches and players - but of the 24/25 players that have left, only eight of them have got Premiership contracts so it just shows the lack of quality that's been around really.
"And I know that, with the simple formula I implement in clubs, is that if you get people who are ambitious, competitive, then you never know where you can take that group of people.
"So there is no sort of goal setting done of 'what are we going to win at this moment', it's just get them together a week on Monday and we start the build from there, really, that's when the hard work starts."
But Diamond did admit to a target of Heineken Cup qualification.
"The ambitions of the players, as well as mine and the owner is we need to be in the Heineken Cup so that is the first target really.
"Heineken Cup qualification for the year after next would be job done."