Du Preez advice lifts Hougaard
Francois Hougaard (Gallo Images)
Pretoria – Fourie du Preez may not be able to play for the Springboks at present, but still had a hand in South Africa’s victory over the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
For the second Saturday in a row, the injured Bok scrumhalf assisted Francois Hougaard with some valuable pre-match advice prior to the big Test. And the youngster has shone on each occasion.
“We had a coffee prior to the game again this week and spoke about what I should do. Fourie has been a great help. He’s a great guy on and off the field,” said Hougaard, who was named man of the match.
The 22-year-old scrumhalf had a creative hand in three of the Boks’ five tries and also pulled off a big tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper in the second half to prevent a try that could have swung the match in the Aussies’ favour.
Hougaard’s performance even won him praise from opposite number Will Genia.
“He has big boots to fill and is doing well,” said the Wallaby scrumhalf.
Hougaard viewed the Test as the highlight of his short career to date, but was still not satisfied with the performance.
“I started with a poor kick, but my passing and decision-making was better than last week,” he said.
What was his favourite moment in the Test?
“I’d say that last break when I sent Pierre (Spies) away and JP (Pietersen) scored. I knew then that there is not enough time for the Wallabies to come back and score another try,” said Hougaard.
“The team is right at the top of my list of highlights. It was very special and I never thought I’d be named man of the match. It’s pretty special to be the man of the match, especially at Loftus Versfeld and in Victor Matfield’s 100th Test.”
Hougaard said the key was to stay calm after the Wallabies had touched down twice inside the first five minutes. The Boks had also decided to make Saturday’s Test a new beginning after four straight losses.
“Our view was that ‘what happened is in the past’ and we are looking forward. It was important to kick it off on a positive note. It is a big confidence-booster.”