'Hougie' has Springbok hunger

2010-09-05 21:30

JJ Harmse

Pretoria – Simple. What you see is what you get. That is Francois Hougaard.

Humble about his successes, yet confident in his abilities. Quiet-spoken about his fame, but not shy about his hairstyle or shiny set of wheels.

A tough competitor, but still young and enthusiastic enough to enjoy life.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Robertson, is the newest rugby sensation in South Africa and experts are simply shaking their heads about the magnitude of his talent.

Prior to the weekend’s Test against Australia, his two starts for South Africa had yielded two man-of-the-match awards.

In Blue Bulls country they have been delighted with the progress of “Hougie” as they have seen his talent develop since 2008.

The reason he had been picked on the wing for the past two years is because they simply wanted him on the field.

He will still be giving the Bulls’ opponents a tough time from the scrumhalf position in years to come, but until Fourie du Preez packs his bags at the end of next year, he will be utilised at centre and on the wing.

“My future is definitely at scrumhalf, but with Fourie there I was always going to play second fiddle this year. I did not worry about playing wing as I just wanted to be on the field. And it gave me the opportunity of being on the field with Fourie and to see how he went things,” said Hougaard.

It’s clear that the two think similarly about the game. Just remember in the Super 14 how Hougaard ran through the first gap at the Orlando Stadium before leaving Joe Pietersen for dead.

Hougaard’s respect for Du Preez is well-known, but the reverse is also true.

Du Preez has no hesitation in marketing Hougaard as his successor for the Bok No 9 jersey – and few will argue after what the country had witnessed in recent weeks.

It’s difficult to believe that Hougaard never played Craven Week rugby.

“At least I played wing for Boland’s under-12 team. But I wasn’t picked the following year.”

After that he attended Paul Roos Gymnasium – and did not make it into the Western Province schools team.

Hougaard joined the WP Rugby Institute after school in 2007 and suddenly had the world at his feet.

“I played for the WP under-19 and under-21 sides, as well as one game at scrumhalf for the Currie Cup team. I was also in the SA under-19 team, but as a centre,” said Hougaard.

Talks with Blue Bulls talent-spotter Ian Schwartz followed and Hougaard headed for Pretoria.

“I’m enjoying living in Pretoria, thank you very much. The people are friendly and I like the city. I don’t have any plans to leave,” said Hougaard.

There is little doubt that he can become the complete package. He showed a lot of courage to play the entire Super 14 final with a broken hand.

He also showed his skills and ability by slotting in and excelling at scrumhalf at the highest level. He’s also proud and enthusiastic.

“The Bok jersey is an inspiration. When I pull it on, I just want to play.”


  • Aussie Mike - 2010-09-05 20:47

    Give credit where it is due. This guy is classy. Pity it took so long to kick January out.

  • Bulls - 2010-09-05 21:07

    The Bulls were sharp enough to discover him and develop him.

  • Dan - 2010-09-05 21:52

    We all agree Hougie is smart and sharp. There are quite a few players like that: Killian (Lions) vd Heever (Bulls) will run the oponents to pieces,. Drop habana and Peterson . Put Spies, Rossouw, Jean de V and Jaq Fourie on the bench. Get that one centre of the Pumas and de Jongh. Put Jano Vermaak on the Bench. Drop Smit and get some decent hookers in.

  • BC - 2010-09-05 21:57

    Hougie is class and has the right spirit, and there's more guys like that out there to fill all positions, all they need is the chance to prove it. But we've got Snore!

  • BigAussie - 2010-09-06 01:38

    This bloke has fantastic skills- I just wonder if he will get any game time under your current coach who seems to have a love affair with that fat arsed bloke from the Cape!

  • Mo - 2010-09-06 05:47

    @Dan : Drop Jaque Fourie? I agree with dropping Spies, Jean de V, and John Smit, but not with Fourie. He's the best center the springbok could ask for. Put de Jonge with him, and get Bismark Du Plessis in the team as well. But well done to Hougard. I was never a fan of him, but he sure impressed me the last few weeks. The man has skill. And what do you know; a WP man as well :) Too bad WP missed him. But WP is doing that alot. Can't believe we loosing Hoffman to the sharks. But its fine. We'll keep Habana and January :(

  • Doc In Bahrain - 2010-09-06 06:17

    Hougard has the usual attributes of a "great scrummie" uses a lot of good ball himself, gives all the bad ball to his flyhalf. I would rather have a scrummie who sent the good ball out especially with Fourie and de Villiers at centre - then Habana would not wander out of position in desperation to get the ball. Certainly partly a coaching problem. The one worked move where he gave de Villiers the ball resulted in a try.

  • Mr D - 2010-09-06 06:33

    Thee are a lot of "Hougie's" out there but snorre is the MAN. Die Bulls "talent" jagter moet n' Bok job kry en ons sal weer tops wees. Fire die ou manne wat nie 100m in 13sek kan draf nie en jy was weer n' BOKSPAN he

  • Smirk - 2010-09-06 06:37

    It was great to watch the smirk disappear from his face in Soweto. His arrogance wasn't matched by his ability in that game. Its one thing to be cocky when you can win but another when you are a part of shambles known as the Springboks.

  • Marius - 2010-09-06 07:18

    Ons het meer spelers nodig wat nog vir die trots daarvan speel en minder van die geldgierige ou manne. Tot dat ons bestuur en keurders dit besef is SA rugby op n verloor pad.

  • ignored - 2010-09-06 08:15

    ...Province ignored Hougie as a younster, ......because Province only buy has-beens.. ....Province will buy Hougie in 15 years time... ..He he he..!!!

  • julian - 2010-09-06 08:50

    Hougie and Guthro 'Cut throat' are miles above the other boks at the moment.

  • THE MAN - 2010-09-06 08:54

    this guy s useless, last week he said he will fnish off the wallabies this week but instead they finished him and the rest of the spring bucks off...and habanna is also useless this guy is a wing yet he is always hanging around with the forward pack getting involved in the rucks... a wing never leaves his position always stays on the wing, no wonder the springbucks concede more tries on the wing than anywhere else on the park becuase the winger is never there to defend...

  • Dave - 2010-09-06 09:19

    Yes and he is white, that is why the hype. If he was a coloured, he was either too small, too fat, too slow. I wonder what is gonna happen to Elton jantjies. The same as Dollie and all the other coloured rugby players.

  • Shame on u JJ - 2010-09-06 09:22

    He has no lasting talent that will stay for years to come. Sure he is good now,in the current bok side if u can run further than 10 meters you are a national hero. He does not run the correct angles and i cant see him lasting 2 long once the other rugby nations check out his style. rather put in vermaak and then you will see what a difference he will make.

  • Gerhard - 2010-09-06 09:29

    I can name a couple of people who should eat their words on this website. In the begining saying, he has no experience, he is too young, his just another BB, he needs more time. Oh my gosh, we need 15 of him I say. He is a great player and will become one of the world's best rugby players in the years to come. Go Hougaard, you make us proud.

  • Ands - 2010-09-06 09:51

    Dave you doos!!! Leave the racism out, I don't see any white guys playing for problem there hey????? Hougie is just a better player than the rest, and leave it at that. And the same applies to JP and Guthro etc. Select on ability and form only.

  • @ Gerhard - 2010-09-06 10:00

    Jy dra hout bril ou maat, how can you say such kak now that he had 2 OK games? i bet you think he will be better than Joost or Marshal? He stood out far better than his team mates as the all played kak. Please oke wake up and smell the coffee.

  • james - 2010-09-06 11:45

    the best rugby talent we have produced in a long time. we need new stars as the two young fly halves we have at the Lions and Sharks, with Juan De J at centre we have some good wings but we lack a real bright starr at fullback. the future is looking good as far as talent is cencerned, however, bet on the Admin to stuff it up. our sport is in the same pethetic state as our government. this is not a racist statement as the Management and coaching team includes all races. problem is to much involvement of people who knows nothing. this thing I am concerend about is how the current team and management stick together as if it is an exclusive club. the players will all support PdV and vice virsa because that whey they protect each others. they have not got exclusivity on the job or the team.

  • @THE WOMAN - 2010-09-06 15:57

    What position did you play at school,left back - in the change room or waterboy at halftime?

  • alan - 2010-09-06 16:30

    Hougie is a very impressive scrummy - but PLEASE don't wear lilac coloured rugby boots! No wonder female Aussie swimming stars brand us as fagotts!

  • Gerhard - 2010-09-07 10:40

    Houtbril se jy? Kom ek raai, seker van die kaap af ne? As I said just after the first Internationals this season, against Wales when Januarie was being picked game after game, I said get Hougaard in the team, atleast on the bench for a couple of games for the fact that he can cover wing, centre and Scrumhalf. But as all great players do, he exceded expectations and I believe he deserves credit for his performances when the whole team was of beat in most of their games. He is young exciting and has hugh talent. More then most international players. With game time, he WILL be a rugby legent, just like Fourie, just like Joost and Marshall, and yet he has only played a hand full of internationals so far, and already received 2 man of the match awards!!! I think you should take your biast "wooden" classes off and open your eyes. If you don't know rugby, please stop commenting! Idiot!

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