Sevens

Hougaard, Blitzboks are all smiles

Francois Hougaard (Gallo Images)
Francois Hougaard (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Francois Hougaard was a relaxed figure in Cape Town on Thursday as the Blitzboks continue preparations for this weekend's Cape Town Sevens. 

But, then again, there has been an easy-going atmosphere surrounding this group of players all week. 

They mean business, and are desperate to win in front of their home support for the third straight year, but there is an unmissable camaraderie that appears to be the glue that holds this squad together.

As Hougaard told Sport24, when you are involved in a 15s squad or on a Super Rugby tour it is easy to sometimes get lost in the crowd.

A Super Rugby tour lasts over a month - a long time away from home - while the Sevens lads are travelling the world throughout the season in one week bursts.

"When you smile and you’re happy I think that’s when you do really well and I think that’s how it is," Hougaard said.

"The guys are all enjoying what they’re doing and I think success follows. We’re obviously serious at times, but I think it is a more relaxed environment.

"The tours are obviously a lot different. I think it’s a lot more personal because there are 12 guys that go on tour and that’s it … and a few managers and a coach. The bonds between the guys are strong."

Hougaard made his Sevens debut in Dubai last weekend, and he scored the match-winning try in the Blitzboks' Plate final victory against Australia. 

"The more I played the more I felt like I got used to it and comfortable. It was an awesome experience," he said.

Captain Kyle Brown spoke on Thursday about how important it was for the 15s players in the squad to quickly be integrated into the Sevens system, and Hougaard knows all about that after he was shifted between positions in Dubai. 

"I’m basically playing two positions … sweeper and wing. Wing is a more basic position where sweeper is one of the more difficult positions where you kind of have a big role," he said.

"It’s the most technical position where you’re basically the playmaker. I really don’t mind … it’s not like I get messed around, but I am used to playing wing. Every guy needs to know how to play every position."

Hougaard was on Thursday named in the 12-man side that will do battle in at Cape Town Stadium. The Blitzboks are pooled alongside Zimbabwe, Kenya and England. 

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