Francois Hougaard: Worcester Warriors scrum-half signs new three-year contract
Worcester Warriors scrum-half Francois Hougaard has signed a new three-year contract with the club.
The South Africa international, 29, whose existing deal was due to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season, is now tied to Sixways until 2021.
"Francois is an X factor player," said Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons. "His experience, ability, drive and energy have been key.
"He's had a major impact on this club's fortunes over the last two years."
Hougaard initially arrived on a short-term deal in February 2016, signed by then Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan.
Within a month, he had been signed on a three-year contract - and, although his appearances have been limited by international calls and injuries, he has remained a key figure for Ryan's two South African successors, Gary Gold and Solomons.
"I have felt at home at Sixways since the day I arrived," said Hougaard. "We have a fantastic group of players who all want to do well for each other. I feel fortunate to be part of a squad so committed to moving forward in unity."
As well as four Warriors tries, Hougaard has scored five in 46 international appearances for South Africa, some of which have come from the wing.
Hougaard & Te'o may return
Hougaard has a chance of returning from injury for this Saturday's return to Premiership action at Sale, following a three-week break.
Flanker Sam Lewis is also being assessed, while England centre Ben Te'o may make his first club appearance in five months - and only his seventh this season in the league.
"He hasn't played as much rugby as some other players this season due to his injury before Christmas," said Solomons. "So he is fresh and he's a key player for us."
Stand-off Ryan Mills has suffered a high ankle sprain and it now looks unlikely that he will play again this season.