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Hougaard backed to fill du Preez void
ESPNscrum Staff
January 13, 2012
South Africa's Francois Hougaard dives over for the 12th try of the match, Namibia v South Africa, Rugby World Cup, North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2011
Francois Hougaard lit up the World Cup on the wing for the Boks © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Fourie du Preez | Francois Hougaard
Tournaments/Tours: Super Rugby
Teams: Bulls | South Africa

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has backed Francois Hougaard to fill the void left by the departed Francois du Preez.

Hougaard lined up on the wing for the Springboks on four occasions during the 2011 World Cup but is equally adept at playing in the half-back role. And despite just one start at scrum-half during the global gathering - against Namibia- Hougaard is set to start at half-back for the Bulls when the Super Rugby season commences with new signing Jano Vermaak also tussling for the spot.

And Ludeke has confirmed that he will give Hougaard a chance at scrum-half but will also look to use his versatility as the tournament progresses.

"Hougie wants to make his mark at scrum-half this year and we gave him the assurance that he will get enough chances there," Ludeke told the Bulls' official website. "Hougie really wants to play there, but he's also a team man and realise that there could be times where we might call on his number at wing. Jano [Vermaak] is himself a brilliant player and then we obviously also have Ruan Snyman to call upon."

In other Bulls news, their vice-captain Wynand Olivier is a doubt for the start of the new campaign. The 28-year-old is struggling with fitness after undergoing shoulder surgery and has now broken a bone in his wrist.

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