WARRIORS scrum-half Francois Hougaard has been voted Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for April.
The South Africa international was one of four Warriors players – alongside Duncan Weir, Josh Adams and Sam Lewis – on a shortlist of 12 for the prestigious national award.
But it was Hougaard who emerged the winner after the combined votes of a public poll and those of the judging panel were totted up.
It is the second time Hougaard has won the Premiership Player of the Month Award, having also been an April winner in 2016, and only the third time it has been won by a Warriors players after Wales wing Adams’ success in November 2017.
Hougaard’s performances during April included an outstanding defensive display in the win over Gloucester at Sixways which helped Warriors secure their Premiership status and a brilliant try-saving tackle on Wasps’ England flanker Brad Shields at the Ricoh Arena.
“It’s great to receive this award but I must say if I could give it to the whole team I would because without the team I would not be able to win an award like this,” Hougaard said.
“It’s a team sport and it’s all 23 guys who contribute to an award like this. It’s nice to receive something like this but the credit should go to the whole team.”
Hougaard was presented with his award by Adrian Snelgrove, a Gallagher Community Hero for Warriors, and his two-year-old guide dog Crumble.
Hereford-based Snelgrove is a member of Warriors Community Foundation’s pioneering Hugby team – a form of rugby for the visually impaired – and was one of 24 Community Heroes chosen by the Premiership’s new title partner, Gallagher, at the start of the 2018-19 season. Each of the heroes were nominated by their respective Gallagher Premiership Rugby clubs for demonstrating the core values of their rugby family.
The judging panel for the Gallagher Player of the Month Award comprised: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (The Daily Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Jonny Fordham (The Sun), Robert Kitson (The Guardian), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Tom Hamilton (ESPN). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby’s communications director.
In addition to his Gallagher Player of the Month Award trophy Hougaard also wins a trophy and 25 tickets to a Warriors home Gallagher Premiership Rugby match which he has donated to the Acorns Children’s Hospice for this Saturday’s season finale against Saracens.