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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 April 2018
Crusaders v Sunwolves 07h35 Christchurch
Reds v Chiefs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Rebels 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 6 4 0 2 20
Brumbies 7 3 0 4 14
Reds 7 3 0 4 13
Sunwolves 7 0 0 7 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Crusaders 7 5 0 2 24
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 7 5 0 2 21
Blues 7 2 0 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 7 3 0 4 14
Sharks 8 2 1 5 14
Stormers 8 3 0 5 13
Jaguares 6 2 0 4 8