Francois Hougaard has signed a short-term contract with English Premiership side, the Worcester Warriors.
After a spell with the Blitzboks, where Hougaard featured in the first four tournaments of the World Rugby Sevens Series, he was expected to link up with the Bulls to feature in some part of the upcoming Super Rugby season.
However, he will instead join up with the Warriors until the end of the season before returning to the Blitzboks squad in May. SA Rugby said in a statement on Monday that he would then be considered for selection for the last two Sevens Series tournaments of the season, in Paris and London in May.
At Worcester, Hougaard will be reunited with former Bulls and Springbok teammates Wynand Olivier and Dewald Potgieter.
'I can't wait to play in the Premiership and am relishing the challenge that lies ahead,' Hougaard commented. 'After speaking with [Worcester director of rugby] Dean [Ryan] and close friend Wynand Olivier, Worcester sounds like a fantastic place for any top-end athlete to be and I believe there is a lot to look forward to at the club.'
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said Hougaard had kept them informed about his desire to undertake a short spell overseas.
'This is a great opportunity for Francois and he was always keen on the idea of exploring playing opportunities overseas. He has kept us informed at all times and we had him scheduled to skip the next couple of tournaments anyway, because of our rotation system.'
Hougaard will therefore not be available for selection for the next four series tournaments, in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore.
'Francois is a livewire scrumhalf with enormous experience at the top level in South Africa,' Ryan said. 'His signing is a statement of intent of where we are heading as a club and we are genuinely excited about what he can bring to the table.'
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