DIRECTOR of rugby Gary Gold believes the surprise return of ‘world-class’ Springbok Francois Hougaard will provide a much-needed boost to his Warriors squad as their search for a first Premiership win continues.
The scrum-half was not due back from international duty until next month when the Rugby Championship comes to an end, but his time in the competition ended prematurely a fortnight ago when he was axed by South Africa following their 57-0 humbling to the All Blacks in Albany.
The Worcester chief hailed the 29-year-old, who could feature in the club’s home clash against Saracens on Friday night, as a ‘shining light on the horizon’ for the Premiership basement side.
The number nine will also be a welcome addition to injury-hit Warriors at scrum-half, with Jonny Arr and Luke Baldwin out with a concussion and bicep injury respectively.
“It’s not good new for him, but Francois Hougaard has returned,” said Gold. “I don’t think he’s been that bad (for South Africa). I actually think he’s been OK. They obviously didn’t play very well (against New Zealand), but I don’t think anyone played well. I don’t know why they chose to release him.
“It’s obviously good news for us as it’ll be a positive boost to the squad. It’s a small shining light on the horizon as it comes at a time with Jonny (Arr) and Luke (Baldwin) out injured.
“Francois is a talismanic and world-class player who loves playing for the club. I think he plays here without the pressure of Test match rugby.”