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Sharkbok

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Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 21, 2012, 17:48:59

 

Francois Hougaard © Gallo Images

Hougaard set to specialise in 2013



 

If Francois Hougaard gets his way, Saturday’s final test of the year against England will also be the last time he wears the Springbok No 11 on his back.

After being switched between wing and scrumhalf for much of the five years he has been playing senior professional rugby, the 23-year-old Bulls star says he has had enough – he wants to be used exclusively as a No 9 from now on.

Hougaard, speaking after the Bok team announcement on Wednesday, is a product of the Western Province Rugby Institute in Stellenbosch, and he appears to have a view that coincides with that of the two top men at the Institute, Stef Nel and Jacques Hanekom.

The pair said in an interview during 2010 that they felt Hougaard’s move to the Bulls to play behind Fourie du Preez, and subsequent selections on the wing, would hurt Hougaard’s development as a scrumhalf. They both

believed their star pupil of an earlier intake had what it took to become the best No 9 in the world if he played there more regularly.

“My preferred position is definitely scrumhalf and I do think that playing wing as much as I have been has hurt my play as a scrumhalf,” said Hougaard.

“I have made it known to the coaches at the Bulls that scrumhalf is where I want to specialise from now on. I will only develop as a scrumhalf if I play there regularly. What I need is a full pre-season where I work only as a scrumhalf, and then to play only as a scrumhalf when the season starts. That will get me thinking like a scrumhalf.

“There are a lot of technical aspects of scrumhalf that require a heck of a lot of hard work and preparation, and I just haven’t been able to put in the time that is needed as I have been playing so much on the wing. Playing 10 minutes or so as a scrumhalf later in the game after playing the first part as a wing is not going to help me develop into the player I want to be.”

There was a perception among Bok management members at the last World Cup that Hougaard may now have become more of a wing than a scrumhalf, and that when it comes to wanting to specialise in the position, the No 9 bus has already left the station. But Hougaard disagrees.

“I think I can catch up what I have missed, I don’t think that is a problem. It’s just about me getting maximum time to work on my craft as a scrumhalf. I am confident that once I do that, it will start coming together for me,” said Hougaard. Of course, both at Springbok and at Bulls level there are other talented scrumhalves about. Hougaard though is prepared to challenge from the bench if that is what he is required to do.

“I am not afraid of competition, I realise that someone like Jano Vermaak is a really good player at the Bulls and he may keep me out of the team. But I am prepared for that. I would rather be on the bench as a scrumhalf and working on my scrumhalf game than playing on the wing, where I won’t have the opportunity to hone my skills as a No 9.”

There was a perception that it was Hougaard’s kicking game that let him down in the tests earlier this year and saw him end up being displaced by Ruan Pienaar, but Hougaard says there is nothing specific about being a scrumhalf that he intends working on.

“I just want to work on all aspects, particularly the decision making. I just want to get used to thinking as a scrumhalf again,” he said.

“I must say I have felt bad being on this tour and seeing Lwazi Mvovo on the bench because I am playing wing. He has had an excellent year and maybe it’s time for him to be given an opportunity.”

One thing that is clear is that regardless of where he plays him, coach Meyer has a high regard for Hougaard the rugby player. He is one of the few players who has played every test during the Meyer tenure so far.


clevermike

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 21, 2012, 20:23:59

I would really like to see Hougaard as our scrummie - but he fouled up in that position this year.   If he can remedy the problems he encountered he would be out main scrummie in future.   He must speed  up his service and improve his kicking game as a start.   Also reading the game better would help.   Looking forward to see how he is doing in Super 15 next year.


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 21, 2012, 20:40:07

He did not foul up at all, the odd charge down and Meyer lost faith in him, highlighting the coaches shortcommings as a player manager. Meyer is a complete fool for moving Hougaard to the wing and his results vindicate that.

Pienaar has been no better and is just another kicking weapon that serves no productivty


clevermike

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 21, 2012, 21:32:53

[removed]

You are the lone voice in the desert that do not want to rexcofnise that something wenr wtong in Hougaard's game.   believe me Hougaard did make some serious mistakes.   Early in the tests he fouled up bt running mostly sideways before he passed balls.  His service was cosequently slo and ineffctive.   That went hand-in-hand with chargedown kicks as well as ineefective kicking in general,   Although he improved hispassing game - his kicking game was atrouciously bad - so much so that the great admirer of kicking (Meyer) was upset and moved him to the wing.   

Hougaard was particularlt poor in the third POM test  in  PE and replaced early.  

Nobody would want to see Hougaard not as the Springbok scrummie - but there is a sunstantial amount  of improvement needed and he could get that by some sound advice from prominent scrummies like Serfontein.  He would not get proper coaching from the Bulls set-up - so I hope he spent some real time with experts and see what then happens.


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5824
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 21, 2012, 22:26:52

@clevermike & [removed],

i agree with parts of ur arguments, ultimately hougaards place in the Boks in the future is at halfback, but for the immediate future hes the 2nd choice halfback after pienaar and rightfully so.

during the english test series and the first puma test, the Bok forwards were horrendus in the breakdown area, failing to secure the are and hougaard had to fight tooth and nail for the ball almost 80% of the time he was on the feild. i thought SA teams in the spXV had the same problem and come june this had been transeferred onto the big stage.
hougaard isnt completely free from blame, but IMHO had pienaar been starting instead of hougaard during those times, then it could very well have been a role reversal, with hougaard being preferred as the No9 and pienaar relegated to either the bench or his many other positions.

2013 can be used by hougaard as a clean slate, where he can work on some of the shortcomings in his game, his box kicking and ball delivery but more importantly, putting his foot down and ordering those forwards and telling them exactly what he wants, somethiung i think is a very importnat part of a halfbacks game and very weak in hougaards.

hougaard has been the biggest beneficary of jp pietersons and habanas injuries, as both injuries have made his selection in the starting lineup a lot easier, had both been fit and available all year it would have been interesting to see what meyer would have done.
it could have been the open door for jp to move to 13 like i and a few others have been saying, or it could have put hougaard on the bench, where he might possibly have had more gametime at HB, even if it was of the bench.

IMO meyer has screwd up big time, especially on the EOYT, against the likes of scotland it would have been a great opportunity to start hougaard at 9 and give him a chance to prove himslef, instead meyer is desperate and wants only to win by any means necessary, so he dields his strongest team possible, while half the dwuad are yet to get a single minute of gametime.
mkaes me wonder how many people does meyer need to hold up tackle bags, while not the best comparison, but All Blacks have already given all 32 members of their squad gametime, including two new debutants barlow who has played 35mins of rugby and coles who has played 41mins.


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 00:15:03

Ag kak Mike there was nothing wrong with his fundamental skills at 9 this year, his service has been as sharp as ever and tacticts dictated that he could not play his usual attacking game. This was of course not assisted by the fact that his forwards were hardly doing a good job of protecting him.

Its all just complete bull[removed] and if you take note of 9's playing these days you will note that they all tend to take steps before passing - pay attention and you will notice this very fact


mozart

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 00:28:17

There's a laugh. He plays the whole S15 at 9, then plays the tests at 9.....until Meyer realizes he is not cutting it. Then largely because of injuries to JP and Habana he has a test reprieve at 11.  This is treated like some kind of imposition?

 

The only reason he is not starting at 9 on Saturday is because he messed up....period!


sasuke uchiha

Status: Rugby Legend
Posts: 5824
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 00:41:38

when the halfback takes a few steps before passing the ball, it is known as arching.

the idea is that the halfback evaluates the situation at hand and those few steps are usually enough to stop looseforwards around the fringes from rushing the first reciever and can also be used to draw the attention of the defending flyhalf putting him in two minds on defence.
its very effective if accurately executed and hougaards skill set mkaes it perfect for him, but like i maintained before, it dosent mean jack if the Bok forwards doint muscle up around the breakdown. ball security is the key, no point in giving the halfback the ball if hes got defence in his face coming at him from every which way and that was a huge weakness of the Bok forwards in their first 4 test matches of 2012, it improved the wallby test matches and aagiunst the All blacks in dunedin, but went back to kak during the sowetto rampage.
 


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 00:53:39

The only reason he is not starting at 9 is because he is playing under a coach who week by week displays more and more ignorance when it comes to selections, game plans and player management. Only a complete fool would move one of his best attacking players away from the action at 9.

Othert than the odd charge down, what exactly did Hougaard do wrong at 9? Take you time old fart


mozart

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 00:58:48

If you can't figure out that this is not about a few charge downs....I can't help you.


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8959
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 01:06:52

I know you can't help for you have no answers just as I thought. Fact is no-one has the answers for there was never really an issue. Why should there be, he has been a revelation there after du Preez departure, has played there all his life, why on earth would he suddenly just lose the ability to play 9 - what complete rubbish.

Its much like your crap that Taute is only about the crash ball or inside step, that Steph du Toit was physically not up to S15 rugby, that Frans is too slow at 12, that Fourie never amounted to much, that JJ cant tackle.......oh man the list is endless. If he happens to be a SA player he will invariably be flawed unless of course he is Jean, de Jongh, Morne or Adi


mozart

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 01:37:00

All those statements remain true.:

 

1) Whatever the reason Hougaard was a horribly hesitant scrumhalf, our game picked up every time Pienaar subbed for him. I was surprised by this, but had to accept the facts. He was getting worse by the game.

 

2) Taute has no real guile as a runner, and the usual nothing inside step. He is no better than Olivier as best I can see....and Olivier at least had a good long pass.

 

3)Steph du Toit was over powered and hurt in his few S15 appearnces. Not nearly physically mature.

 

4) Frans looked dreadfully slow and really did nothing until he was hurt. He has no acceleration at 12, that doesn't augur well.

 

5) Fury was an opportunistic player, much like Campese. The difference is Campese became more of a factor when matches got close.....Fury was a great player when the Boks were dominant, the invisible man when they were in trouble.

 

So there you are....the facts as I see them.


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 01:56:42

Thats your problem those are not facts at all - for a start Steph du Toit only played one or two S15 games, got hurt taking a kick off, it had stuff all to do with maturity or the opponents.

Pienaar was woeful in his first start for the Boks when he replaced Hougaard

Taute has proved all S15 that there is far more to him than you would ever make out. There is a reason he gained more metres, made more breaks, beat more defenders than any other SA 13 in that comp. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that he was playing for the Lions........compare that to de Jongh of the Stormers who did squat all S15

What bull[removed] re Fourie, the man has scored 35 or so test tries in 60 tests, opportunist my arse - class act he is and by far our best since Danie Gerber


mozart

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 02:35:58

Peel the onion one more time and you find:

 

Steph du Toit was tossed around by the mature buggers.

 

Pienaar was selected to universal approval, precisely because he did improve the flow.

 

Taute has played 3 tests at centre without making one solitary clean break.

 

Fourie scored lots of tries against the weaker nations courtesy of 3 RWCs. But his strike rate against NZ and Oz was much inferior to Joubert's and his open field defence almost lost us the Fiji test and thus the RWC.


clevermike

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 08:17:51

Mozart

In essence I do agree with you on most of the issues and players mentioned.- especially in respect of Hougaard and Francois Steyn.   In the case of Taute I don't view his performances as anywhere below that of De Jongh - matter of fact De Jongh really has done nothing in the past year to justify his selection and he did zilch against the Scots as well.

I do believe Meyer and the player himself regard his future playing career as playing ar full back and not at center.   [removed] does not want to accept that scenario and keep on insisting that he should play at 13.   Some players can adjust in positional play - others are not so effective if they play in positions other than their preferred one.Taute performed better at full back for the Lions than he did at center - but nothing will convince Dave otherwise.

Insofar as Francois Steyn is concerned I also believe that he slowed down and was ineefective in the tests he played in this year.   [removed] will blame everyone else - but the player himsel - for under-performing.   

Where you are actually talking nonsence is that Steph Du Toit was tossed around by more mature players.   There was no evidence of that in the games he played on Super 15 level.  You probably base your argument on one incident where he was tackled back by TWO players.   For the rest he performed well in the games and he was injured - a leg injury.   The second game he played in he was played despite the fact that his injury was not properly healed and left the field early.   Nobody can make a judgement like you did above without real evidence and you have none.   I personally think you are prejudiced against younger players and can remember similar remarks about Etzebeth as recently as three months ago.  Neither you nor [removed] has any proof that Du Toit would make it or not make it n Super 15 level next year and neither can anyone say he would make it into the Springbok team or not.   The guy was 19 this year and will only be 20 next year.   Etzebeth really came to the fore at 20 - not at 19.

Incidemntally I also have reservations about Fourie - but he has a huge cult-following - so I do think reservations would be disputed.   

Satements about players should have substance and in the latter case it is missing.   We will always differ on players performances.   You said for instance Steenkamp was good against th Scots - I said he was effective in scrummaging for `15 to 20 minutes and then flizzeled out.   That shows how diferent people sea games - so lets leave it at that.    

Incidentally all the players mentioned - except FATSO - will have a lot to proof in Super 15 next year - and I believe the norm for selection should be perforrmance - based and not based on reputation or anything remotely related to age - provided the selection of players older than 29 should be minimized and again depends on performance.   There is no way that an under-performing player - whether he was a Springbok or not - would perform satisfactoily on test level if their Super 15 performances are sub-par - end of story.

   


bluebok

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1181
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 09:42:25

After reading this article I have a new respect for Hougard. He openly states that he is prepared to play behind Vermaak and earn his place at scrummy. A very balanced and down to earth guy by the sound of it. Also, I agree 100% with what he says, he should play all his rugby at 9. Let me point out something here, a few years back, Pienaar was in exactly the same position, being moved around from one position to the next. Once he put his foot down, and decided the specialise at 9, he became the more settled player we see today. Hougard has X factor oozing from his pores, and that is why Meyer has kept him in the team, even if that means playing him out of position. But If he can settle at 9 and perfect the skills needed for that position, and bring his X-Factor to the mix, he will be a world beater. He is very fast, and freakishly strong for his size, the perfect candidate.

 

As for the centre debate, I agree 100% with Saff, Fourie is world class, not just a good finisher. I think he should have kept on playing in SA for another 3 years, because he still had/has a massive amount to offer the Boks. He went to Japan when playing at his peak, and although he is probably moire financially secure because of it, it came at the cost of his career. Also, since he left SA, there has been a void at 13 that nobody has been able to effectively fill. Nobody can deny that 13 is the one position that we simply don't have a world class player currently playing in SA to fill the position. We have a bunch of maybes, De Jong, Taute etc etc even De Villiers had a go to make space for F Steyn....but not one truly special player.


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 11:15:49

Moffie again a load of bull[removed].

Steph du Toit was only once pushed backwards, by TWO players operating together - FACT

Taute beat his man every time he challenged against Oz - so again you speak crap.

Your facts on Fouries tries are bull[removed] and I have listed his tries on here before.

What flow did Pienaar improve, we have seen nothing better from our backs at all. All Pienaar has provided is a boot.

Frans along with JP were by far our best backs against the Poms. Frans is not slow, certainly no slower than Jean, Olivier, Barritt etc

 


carpetmuncher

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Posts: 1396
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 11:19:35

stef nel and jacques hanekom are one of the sharpest minds in rugby and to be fair it makes sense that a player will not settle down if he is changed again and again. lets see how he develops. he is still a decent runner but had little space to work with.


Beeno1

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 11:29:35

I think Hougaar has done the right thing. He had to take hold of his destiny. Certainly we hope he really gets going as he has enormous talent and mayto possibly become the worlds best. Come home to WP Hougie why waste ya time up in bulle land!

As for DU Toit no 19 year old forward is going to cut it just yet! I am hoping he can come into the Bok picture in 2014 and play a bit of Super rugby in 2013 but not too much. 

Frans Steyn needs to simply get fit and at hi scorrect weight of about 105 kg and we have a match winner.He got married this year (never good for a rugby player but unavoidable I suppose if the dedication is not what it should be!!!) and has been loafing in France for some time. A good Super 15 season will set him straight. He and Jordaan could be the next bok center partnership and along with Reinach, Lambie, JP and Ludik etc form one heck of a backline.

Taute will blossom at WP as a 15 - where he belongs.  I expect far more flair from the Stormers next season.

Is JC joing the bulle? He and Marcell will hugely boost the bulle front row resources!

 


carpetmuncher

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Posts: 1396
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 11:48:35

franna has all the skills to be the best in the world. i have always been impressed by his skills but at the boks he is used to setup of phase play because he is bigger than most he offers a lot more with offloads and has the best handspeed and speed of pass in the backline but that is not being used nor really exploited by meyer and co. for the sharks this season he really was in his own element and made a potent attacking combo with jordaan. it all about combos and those 2 has all the skills to be the best the game has ever seen. its a big statment but they both offer something rather different.

 

i hope for taute's sake AC and the utter rubbish fleck will change there negative mindset and play a game pattern much like the game they played in the cc round robin against the bulls at newlands. recycled such quick ball that the poor defence of the bulls had no answers really. that is the fundamental shift to me change the wp fortunes. taute has the skillsets to be the best fullback since joubert in my view but he needs to play in a enviroment that promotes that brand and style. lets hope the stormers gets therer house in order

 

so for there sake lets hope they shefl the stormers plan and go out there and be proactive and dynamic and play possesion based up tempo rugby.

 

in terms of my boys the sharks the likes of reinach and lambie can really be the next big thing but once again they are allowed to play there own brand and think for themselves and the net result players that a rounded as they think for themselves.

 

 


mozart

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Posts: 8382
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 14:00:09

Hougaard is a terrific rugby player. But the three years he spent away from scrumhalf, on the wing, may have fatally impacted his scrumhalf chances. Is he a better tackler than Pienaaar.....by a mile, Hougaard has the guts and timing to pull off even the difficult tackle from dead behind. Is he a better runner than Pienaar....yep, much more pace.

 

Hougaard also wins the physical stakes easily. In the clip of Louw stepping on the Pom, look at Hougaard's committed clean out of the Scottish lock. that's why he is in there ahead of wall flower Mvovo.

 

But is he a better scrumhalf than Pienaar. Not by a mile. Pienaar is no F du Preez when it comes to kicking, but still a league up on Francois. He also passes better and crucially makes much better decisions. Flyhalf is traditionally regarded as the decision making position in rugby, but in the South African set up it's just as much the scrummie. F du Preez in effect played the decision maker's role for years. Putting a player versus a decision maker in that role screws up the works. Pienaar provides a wise head....Hougaard gets increasingly rattled as the pressure mounts.

 

Can Hougaard overcome the handicap of a poor boot and the seeming inability to be the general at 9? I hope so, because he is an admirable player. But test rugby puts a laser on any player weaknesses....and if I was a betting man, I'd say the time for Hougaard at 9 has already passed.


carpetmuncher

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1396
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 15:18:37

hougaard enjoy a open style of play and loves a quick up tempo possesion style. that style fits his skill set ot a tee and that is where the boks are failing big time. some players to tend to play better in certain playing enviroments and i feel hougaard for one would much rather like a quicker up tempo pattern

 

maybe a move to the sharks of cheetahs might do his career in the long run a lot more.


kingcorn

Status: Squad member
Posts: 518
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 15:23:43

 On Hougaard, I have been saying for same time now that Hougaard never had his position under threat as he was always shifted out to the wing. For me I can't believe coaches would do this and I blame this down to the utility players that coaches wanted to have on the bench. You would think that 7 subs would be enough. 

My take has always been a player shoudl specialise and this now comes from the horses mouth. I also said if Hougaard doesn't perform at 9 then put him on the bench or drop him. 

In this article Hougaard now even admits that he is willing to sit on the bench and fight for his place. 

I don't think that it is to late for Hougaard to come right. I'm glad that he has finally decided to pick 9 and I just hope that he can get it right.


clevermike

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Posts: 12596
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 15:28:47

Beeno

I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the physical side of rugby.   He needs some real coaching in respect of his passing and kiking game - as well s his on-field decisionmaking.

To my mind he Bulls are the last tean he would get decent coaching.   Remember - they are generally known as the grave yard of backline players.   The reason is poor backline coaching - poor skills development and a extremely restricted game plan.

Personally I think with the correct coaching techniques he would get his performances back on track.  He ould be well-advised to move to the Stormers, Sharks or cheetahs.  

 


Saffex

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RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 17:19:57

Bull[removed], there is nothing wrong with his passing at all. Pienaar is no better a passer than Hougaard


mozart

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8382
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 17:27:39

Hell you are one major plank Di Fattie. It's not passing technique, it's the timing,  who you pass to.....it's flat versus soft. All you see is a guy who can run and tackle. You don't see the decisions he makes, his rythm....his body language at 9, which went rapidly downhill.

 

In short you're pretty stupid. 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 12596
RE: Hougaard set to specialise in 2013
November 22, 2012, 19:04:27

Mozart

I agree with you here - it is related to "reading of the game"  and instinctive play.   Proper and appropriate coaching can assist with the first element.   The second one is a major problem,  since it is virtually impossible to get that into a player by coaching or instruction  - the player either thrive on that or he has not fot it.

Does Hougaard have the second qulity of "instinctive play?   Don't know the answer to that one.


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