Blue Bulls scrum-half Francois Hougaard's current form in the Currie Cup shows how determined he is to win back his place in the Springbok squad.
Hougaard was left out of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's group for the Rugby Championship and answered his critics with an inspired performance in the Bulls' 57-19 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup opener in Bloemfontein last weekend.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais praised Hougaard – who scored two tries and won the man of the match award against the Cheetahs – for the way he has responded to his axing from the Bok squad.
“He is a very very good rugby player – we often forget how good he is,” Marais told Supersport.
“The one thing about Francois, he is a very level-headed guy – if you back him he will play his heart out for you.
"He makes such a comfortable space for the juniors around him. He settles them down, and you could see it on Saturday, he has the x-factor, he was instrumental in that win, and he will be huge in this Currie Cup for us.
“He could have gone to Japan and after our meeting he said he wanted to win the Currie Cup.
"That was the first time I had spoken to him about the Currie Cup, he came on his own and said ‘coach I want to play Currie Cup’.
"That meant a lot to me, and you could see how he played on Saturday, he wants to play, he wants to prove a point. He wants to do well for the Blue Bulls and we’re very happy with that.”