Hougaard won scrumhalf battle

Francois Hougaard outshone Nick Phipps at Newlands on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.

With Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar out injured, this was Hougaard's big chance to show that he still has what it takes to wear the Springbok No 9 jersey. And he took it, performing well under pressure.

Hougaard made a good start to the game, getting the ball away quickly during the 18-phase attack. He continued to distribute well, going on to make 114 passes.

In the 23rd minute, he made a try-saving tackle on Joe Tomane and then got back to his feet and made another (he would finish the match with 13).

Hougaard only kicked the ball four times, which suggests he was allowed to play to his strengths. His grubber down the left touchline almost resulted in a try for Willie le Roux with 15 minutes to go.

Phipps's distribution was also impressive and he made a good break down the left touchline that resulted in a penalty for the Wallabies, but he didn't have the same impact as Hougaard, who was deservedly named Man of the Match.

Photos: Andrew Cornaga/Barry Aldworth/Photosport/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt