Former Bulls hero Derick Hougaard has sights set on NFL ... at 37

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Derick Hougaard wants to become a placekicker in America's NFL. (Gallo Images)
Derick Hougaard wants to become a placekicker in America's NFL. (Gallo Images)
  • Former Bulls and Bok flyhalf Derick Hougaard is seeking a return to professional sport at 37 and wants to play in the NFL.
  • In a "proactive" move, he's hoping to catch the eyes of scouts at a camp organised by WWS Africa next month, where observers scout post-matric rugby players' suitability for gridiron.
  • Hougaard says it's been a long-held dream of his to play the sport.

Former Bulls and Springbok flyhalf Derick Hougaard apparently has his heart set on play in the NFL ... at 37.

Retired since 2015 due to a variety of injuries, he'll be using WWS Africa's Scout Camp next month to impress observers and gain a potential trial in the US.

WWS Africa is the brainchild of Munya Maraire, a Zimbabwean-born former college football player, and Bart Schoeman, the Lions' former high performance manager, who hope to help overlooked South African school rugby players receive potential scholarships for American football.

While there's no age criteria for potential triallists, Hougaard's intentions are odd for an initiative aimed at school-leavers.

"I had 14 wonderful years as a professional rugby player but when when any athlete's career is cut short by an injury, there's a feeling of unfinished business," he was quoted as saying in a statement by Netwerk24.  

"To exercise a sport professionally is a lifestyle and every professional athlete would prefer to end his or her career on their own terms. I played rugby worldwide and to end my career as an American footballer would be a great triumph."

Unsurprisingly, Hougaard - who scored 69 points in eight Tests for the Springboks - is banking on his excellent place-kicking to fulfil a similar role in gridiron.

He would then follow the example of Springbok legend Naas Botha, who also went in search of fame and fortune in the US during an unsuccessful trial with the Dallas Cowboys.

"There are no guarantees in sport and the Covid-19 pandemic has taught me not to discard dreams but rather be proactive in pursuing them," said Hougaard.

Even before his rugby career ended, he apparently harboured dreams of playing in the NFL and has already ordered a full kit to practice with ahead of the scouting camp.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff 

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