Worcester Warriors: Francois Hougaard and Bryce Heem may return as injury woes ease

Francois Hougaard played on the wing for South Africa in four of their six Rugby Championship internationals - seen here against Australia in Pretoria
Francois Hougaard played on the wing in four of South Africa's Rugby Championship internationals

Head coach Carl Hogg says that the injury crisis which has hit Worcester this season is starting to ease.

And he expects two of their overseas stars, scrum-half Francois Hougaard and winger Bryce Heem, could be back in action for Saturday's Anglo-Welsh Cup tie against Harlequins at Sixways.

"We're looking at Bryce returning," Hogg told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"And we're looking at whether Francois has got enough under his belt, so it's all very positive."

Hougaard has not appeared for Warriors this season, having returned from Rugby Championship international duty for South Africa in October with a shoulder injury.

New Zealander Heem has made just three appearances this season after hurting his knee in pre-season.

Bryce Heem
Bryce Heem has represented New Zealand at Sevens level

But, on the down side, young stand-off Jamie Shillcock has had to undergo an MRI scan on his knee after ending up on crutches following Worcester's 57-14 European Challenge Cup weekend win over Russian sides Enisei-STM.

"Hopefully it won't be too significant," added Hogg.

Skipper GJ van Velze remains sidelined by his early season concussion injury and England full-back Chris Pennell is still out with Achilles trouble.

But Warriors' otherwise improved injury news does at least lift the club, who sit 11th in the Premiership, just one point off the bottom, following weekend speculation about further changes to the coaching structure.

Weekend press reports suggested that South African Gary Gold, the former Bath and London Irish coach, might come to Sixways as a consultant.

A further story had already pinpointed ex-Leicester boss Richard Cockerill as a target, while Saracens chief executive Edwards Griffiths was also linked.

But the club have said that they will not comment on speculation - and local media were briefed, ahead of Monday's pre-match press conference for Saturday's visit of Harlequins, that Hogg would not discuss any of the stories.

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