Springbok Sevens player Francois Hougaard will join English Premiership side Worcester Warriors in England on a short term contract, SA Rugby confirmed on Monday. The Springbok scrumhalf is currently on a one-year contract with the Springbok Sevens side. He will return to the squad in May, in time to be considered for selection for the last two World Series tournaments of the season, in Paris (14 and 15 May) and a week later at Twickenham in London.
Since joining the Springbok Sevens, Hougaard has played in four World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments, helping South Africa to joint first place on the log as well as the inaugural Cape Town Sevens title. Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, says Hougaard has made a big impact since joining the squad before the start of the season. According to Powell, the player has always played open cards with him regarding his desire to undertake a short spell overseas: ‘This is a great opportunity for Francois and he was always keen on the idea of exploring playing opportunities overseas. He has kept us informed at all times and we had him scheduled to skip the next couple of tournaments anyway, because of our rotation system.’
Hougaard will therefore not be available for selection for the next four World Series tournaments, in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore. At Worcester, he will be reunited with former Bulls and Springbok team mates Wynand Olivier and Dewald Potgieter. The Springbok Sevens is currently one of a trio of teams who have 69 points after four rounds.
Fiji is placed first because of their superior points margin, followed by South Africa and New Zealand. Meanwhile, the Springbok Sevens confirmed on Monday that regular skipper Kyle Brown (minor shoulder operation), Branco Du Preez (shoulder surgery) and Cecil Afrika (hamstring) have all returned to full training following the successful completion of their respective rehabilitation programmes.
Photo credit: Martin Seras Lima