Worcester Warriors’ scrum-half Francois Hougaard was today named Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for April 2019.
The South African was pivotal in a crucial month for the Warriors as they guaranteed their place in Gallagher Premiership Rugby for next season.
“Francois has been a central figure, absolutely world-class” said Ugo Monye, former England and Lions wing who is now a BT Sport pundit, covering Gallagher Premiership Rugby. “You have that feeling that if Francois plays well, Worcester will go well.
“I’m not sure how many other clubs in Gallagher Premiership Rugby have players that are so integral and so important to their club. It’s been a huge month for Worcester; securing their Gallagher Premiership Rugby status once again, picking up nine points in their last two matches.”
Hougaard was presented with his award by Adrian Snelgrove, a Gallagher Community Hero for Worcester Warriors, recognised for his work in helping adapt rugby for the visually impaired and thus making it an inclusive sport for the blind community.
Adrian is one of 24 Community Heroes chosen by title partner, Gallagher, at the start of their first (2018-19) season. Each of the heroes were nominated by their respective Gallagher Premiership Rugby teams for demonstrating the core values and spirit of rugby and using their energy, commitment and passion to protect and grow the game.
Monye added: “When you play scrum-half, you touch the ball more than anyone, so the impact which you can have on the game is huge. For someone that’s on the ball as much as Francois, it feels like none of his involvements within those big matches are wasted.
“Whether it’s him leading by example, leading by his body language, leading by the things that he says, organising forwards, organising breaks, making sure the back line is firing – that’s what he does.”
Adrian Snelgrove said of the presentation: “I have been following rugby for 40 years, the game is a true passion of mine and to present the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award was something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do. It was incredible to meet Francois and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Gallagher for making a long-held dream come true.”
Throughout the season, Gallagher, itself a passionate community insurance broker, has embarked on a series of CSR initiatives as part of its ongoing commitment to rugby, working with Premiership Rugby to shine a light on the positive work that is being done around the game, both at scale and within the local communities.
Hougaard – as part of his prize for being named Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month – wins 25 tickets to a future Worcester Warriors match to be gifted to a local club, school or community group of his choice.
Hougaard was judged by a panel of experts as the player who made the biggest impact in Gallagher Premiership Rugby over the month of April.
He was involved in a four-way battle to win the award eventually beating Northampton Saints scrum-half Cobus Reinach, Bristol Bears hooker Harry Thacker and Saracens scrum-half Ben Spencer to the title.
Hougaard was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in April, alongside a public poll which drew almost 2,000 votes on the Premiership Rugby app. The judges were: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (The Daily Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Jonny Fordham (The Sun), Robert Kitson (The Guardian), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Tom Hamilton (ESPN). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby's Communications Director.
Hougaard wins a trophy and 25 tickets to a future Worcester Warriors Gallagher Premiership Rugby match which he can donate to a local rugby club, school or community group.
Winners in the 2018-19 season
April – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
March – Santiago Cordero (Exeter Chiefs)
February – Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
December – Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints)
November – Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
October – Alex Goode (Saracens)
September – Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby)
Winners in the 2017-18 season
April – Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons)
March – Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
February – Jack Willis (Wasps)
December – Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors)
November – Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester Rugby)
October – Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
September – Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Winners in the 2016-17 season
April – Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby)
March – Christian Wade (Wasps)
February – James Short (Exeter Chiefs)
December – Tom Varndell (Bristol Rugby)
November – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)
October – Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
September – Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
Winners in the 2015-16 season
October – Nick Evans (Harlequins)
November – Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
December – Maro Itoje (Saracens)
January – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
February – George Smith (Wasps)
March – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
April – Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
Winners in the 2014-15 season
September – Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
October – Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
November – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
December – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
January – Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
February – Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
March – Elliot Daly (Wasps)
April – Joe Simpson (Wasps)
Winners in the 2013-14 season
September – Jacques Burger (Saracens)
October – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
November - George Ford (Bath Rugby)
December – Nick Easter (Harlequins)
January – Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
February – Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
March – Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
April – Chris Ashton (Saracens)
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