Hougaard poised for Springbok return

Springbok fly-half Derick Hougaard is set to return to international rugby for the first time since the 2003 World Cup in Saturday's one-off Test against Samoa. [more]

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Springbok fly-half Derick Hougaard is set to return to international rugby for the first time since the 2003 World Cup in Saturday’s one-off Test against Samoa.

Hougaard, who burst onto the scene at the age of 19 and broke scoring records to give the Blue Bulls their first domestic Currie Cup title against the odds, was a late selection four years ago but has failed to find favour with coach Jake White since then.

However, his form in this year’s Super 14 for the victorious Bulls – where he ended the tournament as the second highest points scorer – has forced White to re-evaluate his opinion of the player.

Meanwhile, controversial flanker and Stormers captain Luke Watson is set to make his Springbok debut after being included in the 31-man squad.

Watson was not selected by White or the national selectors but was added to the squad at the behest of SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins, who overruled the national coach last month.

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SA Rugby added nine players to the 22-man squad that was on duty for the 55-22 win over world champions England last weekend.

Aside from Hougaard and Watson, they are Bismarck du Plessis, Johan Ackermann, Wikus van Heerden, Pedrie Wannenburg, Wayne Julies, Waylon Murray and JP Pietersen.

The Springbok medical team failed to give an assessment on the knee injury to Bryan Habana following speculation he will miss the home leg of the Tri-Nations series.

"The medical staff has confirmed that Bryan Habana’s knee injury needs further management," read a statement.

"Team doctor Yusuf Hassan said the player would return to play once he is satisfied with his progress. Dr Hassan will constantly monitor Habana’s condition.

"CJ van der Linde’s nose requires medical management. He is not expected to be out of action for long."

The Boks are likely to rest several players for the Johannesburg match.

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