FNB UP-Tuks' Werner Fourie is used to overcoming adversities on a rugby field, because for him playing hooker is always about getting going when the going gets tough.
This has led to him so often being able to change the outcome of any game. Two weeks ago he was instrumental in helping UP-Tuks stage a comeback in their first FNB Varsity Cup encounter against FNB NWU. He scored three tries. Celebrating his heroics, unfortunately, was shortlived.
A mere day afterwards, the 21-year-old BIS Information Science student was diagnosed as having a brain tumour. On Wednesday, 19 February Fourie will undergo an operation. Still, he refuses to feel sorry for himself.
On Monday, 17 February he was in the stands when the Stripe Generation staged one of the most heroic comebacks in the history of UP-Tuks rugby. With twenty minutes on the clock remaining, they were trailing 7-24. Still, in the end, they managed to win 26-24.
Fourie admitted afterwards that to watch his teammates battle it out on the field with nothing he could do to assist them was a harrowing experience.
"I don't think I would like to go through something like that again. I tend to stress out completely. I would rather be on the field in the midst of things putting my body on the line."
Fourie ascribed UP-Tuks's heroic comeback to a real pride playing for 'The Stripes'.
"Every time you don the jersey, it is all about not letting Tuks down," Fourie said.
He admits to it being a shock when the doctor told him that he had a brain tumour.
"I did not expect anything. After the game against North-West, I started to develop a headache which progressively worsened. That is why I went to the hospital. At most, I thought I might be concussed. It was only after I had undergone a scan that it was revealed that I have a brain tumour.
"In hindsight, the best thing I could have done was going to the hospital. If I did not, I would in all probability have gone on playing. The end consequences could have been dire."
If Fourie can have his way, he would be on the rugby field in the foreseeable future doing what he relishes. That is to help the teams he plays for winning games. He, however, realises it might take some time before he can do so.
UP-Tuks' head coach, Nico Luus, emphasised the last thing Fourie needs to worry about now is rugby.
"He is undoubtedly going to be missed in our Varsity Cup campaign as he is such a special talent, but the most important thing is that he should fully recover. In the end, rugby is only a game. It is the life after you stop playing that genuinely matters."
Report supplied by TuksSport Media
*FNB Varsity Cup wishes Werner Fourie all the strength on his road to recovery.