Bulls star makes Tigers move
Bulls fly-half off to join former coach at Leicester Tigers.
Last Updated: 14/07/08 7:27am
Hougaard: Leicester move
Blue Bulls fly-half Derick Hougaard will leave Loftus Versfeld to further his career in England where he will team up with Heyneke Meyer to play for the Leicester Tigers.
Hougaard has been an important member of the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup as well as the Bulls in the Super 14 since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2002.
He was one of the lynchpins of the Blue Bulls' Currie Cup success in 2002 and 2004 and was outstanding for the Bulls in the team's Super 14 crowning in 2007.
Hougaard, who was the best goal-kicker in 2007 as well as the 2008 Super 14 tournament, has signed a three-year deal with Leicester and will be released with immediate effect.
Hougaard says he always thought he would play for the Blue Bulls until his 30th birthday.
"But this opportunity arose and I think it is a wonderful chance to test myself against the best players in the Northern Hemisphere," he said.
"I definitely would like to play for the Bulls in the future again but I am looking forward to working with Heyneke and to compete in the Heineken Cup in the next couple of seasons.
"Heyneke always had the ability to get the best out of a player and ever since I was young he backed me and it goes without saying that he had an enormous positive influence on my career."
Hougaard said that he would like to use this opportunity to sincerely thank his loyal fans for all their support during the last seven years.
"I loved Pretoria and the fans were incredible. During good as well as bad times they supported me and they always encouraged me to take my game to the next level.
"I have been blessed to play in quite a number of Currie Cup finals as well as being part of a winning Super 14 team and I guess I don't always realise how fortunate I have been.
"I have so many things to be grateful for and I will always treasure the friendships that I made at Loftus Versfeld."
Tigers chief executive Peter Wheeler said he is very pleased to have signed such a good player and he believes the Premiership and Heineken Cup will suit Hougaard's playing style perfectly.
"We were very impressed by his performances during the last year and we believe he still has many great years ahead of him," said Wheeler.
"Derick is only 25 and he has not realized his full potential yet. He has a very good working relationship with Heyneke and I hope that we can help him to maximize his potential as a rugby player.
"We seem to be like the Bulls in that we have a wonderful family culture at the Tigers and we are looking forward to continue and foster such an environment."