Francois Hougaard opens up about fallout after Reeva Steenkamp's death

Former Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard has opened up about the fallout after Reeva Steenkamp's death and the difficulties he had with the attention received during the trial of her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.

Hougaard currently plies his trade in the UK for the Worcester Warriors.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail, he described how he and Steenkamp dated for some time and that it had been a shock to receive the news from a friend that she had been shot dead.

It was widely reported after her death on Valentine's Day in 2013 that Hougaard had sent her an SMS shortly before her murder at the Paralympian's hands.

"Everyone was saying I sent Reeva a message and that's why he shot her. I had nothing to do with her any more but it's all people were asking me about. Mentally, that was a really tough thing to go through," Hougaard said.

He said he ended up speaking to a psychologist, who helped him deal with negative situations.

Netwerk24 reported that he and Steenkamp had apparently seen each other on and off between October 2012 and early in January 2013.

He attended her funeral service in Port Elizabeth but did not speak to journalists, according to TimesLive

Hougaard's agent Lorinda Voges said at the time that "the sad ordeal is nothing to do with him".

Pistorius is currently serving a 13-year-jail term for the murder after the Supreme Court of Appeal increased his sentence for culpable homicide from five years.

In a television interview with ITV in 2016, Pistorius said he believed Steenkamp would not have wanted him to waste his life behind bars.

He also said in that interview that, from what he could recall, she had not received an SMS from Hougaard the night he shot her and that he believed she was an intruder.

Hougaard signed a new contract to stay with the Worcester Warriors until 2021.

He shocked fans earlier this month when he announced that he quit his international career, according to Sport24.

His decision was said to be informed by club commitments and an eagerness to study a time-intensive MBA degree in business management.

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