Hendre Fourie, the Sale Sharks openside flanker, has been forced to retire from the game due to an irrecoverable shoulder injury.
Fourie won eight England caps following impressive displays at Leeds Carneigie. His performances earned him a move to Sale Sharks 2011 but his shoulder problems restricted him to just three appearances from the club.
South African born, Fourie was seen as a real inspiration to many of the players outside of the top flight after excellent performances for Rotherham saw him earn a move to Leeds Carnegie despite being well into his peak. That his performances for Leeds then saw him capped by England only added to the inspiration.
In a bid to limit the damage to the club that the loss of Fourie leaves, Steve Diamond today announced that the former All Black flanker Daniel Braid would be joining the Sharks from the Auckland Blues until the end of the season.
Braid won four caps for the All Blacks, which given that he plays at openside in direct competition to Richie McCaw, is an impressive haul. Indeed many in New Zealand once saw him as the natural replacement to their record-breaking captain.
In a slightly bizarre twist though, it seems that Braid was not too well clued up on the ins and outs of Sale before he signed for them, with him quoted as saying:
“When I knew I was coming here, I went online and had a look at the squad and some of the names here such as Sam Tuitupou and Danny Cipriani.â€
“To see where Sale are in the table was a bit of a shock, but there are still quite a few games to go and with the win against Worcester, hopefully it’s a case of onwards and upwards.”
Sale will be hoping that he is right as after a dismal start to the season they lie bottom of the table, a point adrift of London Irish despite having the likes of Tuitupou and Cipriani in the side, not to mention Richie Gray, Andy Powell, Mark Cueto and Rob Miller.