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Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:31 UK

Leeds Carnegie's Hendre Fourie excited by England call

Hendre Fourie
Fourie originally moved to England to play for Rotherham

Leeds Carnegie's Hendre Fourie said he is "thrilled, honoured and excited" to be included in England's 44-man squad to tour Australia and New Zealand.

The South-Africa born flanker, who qualifies for England through residency, is one of nine uncapped players named by Martin Johnson.

"I'm over the moon, It's a great feeling and I can't explain what I'm feeling," Fourie told BBC Radio Leeds.

"I can't wait to go on the tour and test myself against such great teams."

Fourie's outstanding season for Leeds resulted in him playing for England Saxons against Italy A in February and training with the full England squad during this year's Six Nations.

Club coach and England World Cup winning flanker Neil Back has constantly called for Fourie to be given a chance on the international stage and believes he will go to next year's World Cup.

Fourie explained: "I've know for a while this was on the cards, but I got the call from Martin Johnson on Monday night and he said congratulations on an excellent season and that's I'm in the squad.

"I'm looking forward to locking horns with Australia and New Zealand and to playing against some of the best players in world rugby. I've never been to Australia and New Zealand either, so that will be a great experience for me too.

"The first part is done for me now by getting into the squad, but the next objective is to try and win a place in the Test squad and I really want to do that.

"The World Cup is in the back of my mind, but my next objective is to help Leeds do well in the Premiership. If I can keep doing well for Leeds then hopefully selection for England's World Cup squad would come on the back of that, like it has this time around."

Fourie played a major part in helping Leeds stay in the Premiership this season and he has been quick to point out the part his team-mates have played in his England selection.

"I've just put my head down and worked very hard and do it for my mates with me in my team.

"If the team does well then you'll do well as a player. The better the team plays the better you can play and my mates' form has really helped me."

Fourie missed Leeds' last two Premiership games of the season after injuring his calf in the build-up to their vital match with Worcester Warriors, but is confident the problem has now healed.

"When I got the injury I was bit bit concerned that it could keep me out for a while and effect my England chances.

"But I have recovered very quickly and it's coming on real well now. I am now running almost full pace now and have done some good rehab over the last few weeks.

"The England physio came around on Monday and had a good look at me and was happy with it all.

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