Hougies back to his best?

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 07:46
Large francois hougaard headphone Large frans ludeke h s presser2 Large francois hougaard bulls tr2 Large frans ludeke h s presser Large francois hougaard bulls tra

The plaudits went to Morné Steyn, but one of the unsung heroes at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend was scrumhalf Francois Hougaard.

The plaudits went to Morné Steyn and rightly so - he kicked seven from seven in the Bulls' impressive 25-17 win over the Stormers.

However, one of the unsung heroes at Loftus Versfeld was scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, who once again proved that No.9 is his best position.

The 24-year-old, who started almost as many Tests on the wing as at scrumhalf, is not the finished product yet.

However, in the knowledge that he will be allowed to concentrate on his preferred position, the 27-times capped Bok looked a far more accomplished player than the one who seemed to have lost his direction in 2012.

Hougaard established himself as first-choice scrumhalf at Super Rugby level last year, only to lose his Springboks No.9 jersey to Ruan Pienaar and then was moved to the wing again - a position he played in for the Bulls in 2011.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, speaking to this website, confirmed that Hougaard will be used almost exclusively at No.9 this year.

While there might be the odd occasion that he will be required elsewhere in the team, he will be given a chance to focus on the skills required to make him a first class scrumhalf and hopefully cement his place as the Boks' starting No..

"When we chatted to Hougies [Hougaard] about the season and selection, he made it clear he is a team man and will play wherever the team needs him," Ludeke told this website.

"However, he wants to focus at scrumhalf.

"It requires a completely different skills set [than what he needs on the wing] - things like decision-making, tactical appreciation, especially at No.9.

"He wants to focus on scrumhalf play this year."

Asked if he felt the decision to give him more game time at No.9 might help the scrumhalf in his Bok ambitions, Ludeke tactfully shifted the focus.

"I can't speak about what will happen at the Springboks, but we don't have any problem with it [playing him more at No.9]," the Bulls mentor said.

"He is a good scrumhalf - between him and Jano Vermaak we have two quality scrumhalves that will serve us well this season."

By Jan de Koning

Jaguares vs Reds
sast: 23h40 | local: 18h40

  • 22 | 8
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 March 2017
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
NMMU-Madibaz v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Bloemfontein
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Jaguares 4 3 0 1 14
Kings 5 1 0 4 5