Hendre Fourie relishing Sale Sharks back-row battle

Hendre Fourie
South-African born Fourie has won seven caps for England

Sale Sharks forward Hendre Fourie is relishing the battle for his place in the starting line-up this season.

The flanker, 31, joined from Leeds this summer and is one of a number of players able to play in the back-row.

"Competition is what I crave actually, because that makes you play better," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

"You have to really lift your game to stay in the team. I like it because it makes you concentrate a bit more, do that little bit extra and play better."

Fourie has missed most of Sale's pre-season preparations as he was part of England's initial World Cup training squad.

He started the final warm-up match against Ireland, but ultimately missed the cut in Martin Johnson's 30-man squad.

The South African-born flanker injured his hamstring in that match which has kept him out of Sale's opening two fixtures, but has been impressed with how the new arrivals have bonded since his arrival at Edgeley Park.

"As I came in I could feel the lads' togetherness, you could see they bonded together nicely as a team," he added.

"We're getting together and moulding together as a team. We're waiting for the World Cup lads to come back and I think [when they do] we'll mould as a team together nicely."

With ten Sharks players currently away with their national sides at the World Cup, Fourie also believes it's important that the players remaining at Edgeley Park lay down a marker for when they return.

"[Sale coach] Steve [Diamond] said in a meeting the other day, you guys in the position now have to play to make those guys have to fight for their places," he continued.

"You should be saying, 'I'm going to make this jersey mine and he has to work his butt off to come back into the jersey.'"

"If everybody gets that message it's going to be one hell of a season."