FRANCOIS Hougaard, the 24-year-old Bulls utility back, believes that the Sharks’ specialist Lwazi Mvovo should be playing in his place on the wing against England at Twickenham tomorrow.

2012-11-23 00:00

FRANCOIS Hougaard, the 24-year-old Bulls utility back, believes that the Sharks’ specialist Lwazi Mvovo should be playing in his place on the wing against England at Twickenham tomorrow.

Hougaard has started in all the Springboks’ internationals this year, first at scrumhalf, before moving to the wing when Ruan Pienaar was called up from Ulster to play at the base of the scrum.

But Hougaard, refreshingly honest and surprisingly outspoken, told the media in London this week that he wanted to be a scrumhalf — not a wing — and that Mvovo was getting a raw deal.

“I feel for Lwazi because he is a top player,” he told Sport24. “I really want Lwazi to play, because it’s not nice for me. It feels unfair that I play in his position and I’m not doing that well,” Hougaard admitted.

“The coach plays me ahead of Lwazi on wing, but I feel for him. I would understand and support the decision to play him ahead of me,” he said.

“It’s not easy to tell the guys to keep themselves up on a three-week tour when they sit on the bench or never play. But I’m here now and I have to take the chance. I’m working hard every day to improve.”

Mvovo could still start against England if right wing JP Pietersen fails a late fitness test today.

Hougaard said he was longing for the day when he returned to scrumhalf and believes that it still his best position.

He was selected at scrumhalf for the Boks and the Bulls when Fourie de Preez moved to Japan, but he has struggled to settle into the role and his tactical shortcomings resulted in him being shifted to the wing by national coach Heyneke Meyer.

“I haven’t been happy with my form this year. I’m still learning a lot at scrumhalf, but I haven’t played much there. I still train there every day, but you only get better if you play. I still think that’s my best position.”

Hougaard is hoping that tomorrow’s international against England will be his last on the wing and he wants to play at scrumhalf for the Bulls in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

“I want to settle at scrumhalf or I run the risk of being an average wing and an average scrumhalf. I don’t want that to happen. I know I have so much to work on at scrumhalf, but I’d prefer to cover scrumhalf from the bench for the Springboks [next year] if it means I’m not being shifted around positionally.”

“I do think that playing wing as much as I have been has hurt my play as a scrumhalf,” Hougaard said.

“I have told the coaches at the Bulls that I want to specialise at scrumhalf. I will only develop as a scrumhalf if I play there regularly.”

Hougaard’s 26 Test caps are shared almost exactly between scrumhalf and fullback.

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