Dawson: ‘Hougaard not the answer’

Date published: January 8 2017

Francois Hougaard’s return is not enough to save Worcester’s sinking Premiership campaign, says captain Phil Dawson.

Dawson told Worcester News the problems for Warriors, who are second from bottom on the table, are broader than the scrum-half position which Hougaard will fill upon his return from injury.

Worcester copped a 55-19 drubbing from Gloucester on Saturday and are now just one point above bottom dwellers Bristol.

“We can’t wait for one superman (Hougaard) to come back and try to turn it around,” Dowson said.

“The young lads have proven that at Bath away and at games at home they are more than capable. (Jamie) Shillcock is quality and I’ve got no doubts about him. Dean Hammond is another classic example.

“There’s some of the older boys, including me, who are making some disgusting mistakes as well so it’s nothing to do with age or experience it’s about getting it right on the field.”

Hougaard underwent shoulder surgery last year after getting injuried on international duty for the Springboks and haven’t played for Worcester since April.

“Hougaard is an unbelievably good player so it will be great to have him back. But there are bigger problems than the scrum-half position,” Dawson admitted.

“I think Mike (Dowsett) is a great player and it’s great to have Luke Baldwin back because he’s a great bloke and a great player. We have leaked 55 points and that’s not down to just one man and we have to look at ourselves.”

Dowson lamented Worcester’s lack of character and accepted they were without energy and intensity in the match.

“We didn’t show any character to put Gloucester under pressure and away from home we have been poor throughout the season,” Dowson said.

“It was another day when we have taken a hiding and we need to right this ship immediately and get stuck in. The high intensity and energy was great against Harlequins but it dropped off. The positive thing is we have got the ability in the squad but the huge negative is it doesn’t show up away from home.

“It’s a question of concentration and character and all sorts of things and it’s something we have to rectify as soon as possible. We are in a relegation dogfight now. It’s a scrap and we have no momentum and we have four weeks to put it back together again.”