Rugby Championship

Gold puzzled by Coetzee’s Hougaard comments

2017-09-28 08:48
Francois Hougaard (Gallo)

Cape Town - Worcester Warriors’ director of rugby Gary Gold has questioned Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s comments regarding the form of Francois Hougaard.

The scrumhalf was last week released from the Springbok squad and allowed to return to his English club.

Coetzee earlier this week explained his decision to drop Hougaard and said the player lacked the technical ability required of a Test-level scrumhalf.

In an interview with SuperSport.com, Coetzee said Hougaard shifting back and forth between scrumhalf and wing throughout his career proved problematic.

“Look I am not going to go and explain every individual player and why he has been left out. The reason for Francois Hougaard obviously - he is a fantastic rugby player and it is just that that continuity hasn’t been part of this - like not playing regularly at nine has not helped him with his technical ability at scrumhalf at Test match level,” Coetzee said.

“Unfortunately that is the case and it hasn’t gone well, because I think it is important that our nines function really well. And I just think technically at that level it has been a struggle for him really.”

Gold was however delighted to have Hougaard back for Premiership duty and said he was surprised by the player’s axing.

"It's a tough call on Francois, who has been a loyal servant of South African rugby for a long time," Gold wrote via a column for The Times. “I find Coetzee's comments regarding Hougaard's axing bizarre, and I would like to see what elements of his game he struggled with technically according to the national coach."

Gold added that he was 'intrigued' by Louis Schreuder's call-up as Hougaard's replacement.

“He is a good scrumhalf with pedigree, but the fact of the matter is that he is not yet tried and tested at Test match level.”

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