FRANCOIS Hougaard’s performances on the pitch may have earned him the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month award for April.

But it is his focus and determination on the training field that sets the standard at Worcester Warriors according to team-mate Andrew Kitchener.

Hougaard has overcome an indifferent start to the season to help Warriors seal their top-flight status with stunning showings in the back-to-back wins over Sale Sharks and Gloucester.

And lock Kitchener, 22, hailed the influence of “role model” Hougaard during Worcester’s crunch month of matches and said the South African’s work-ethic had rubbed off on the squad.

“For a scrum-half he is very tenacious, gets stuck in and loves the physical side of the game,” Kitchener said.

“You saw that against Gloucester.

“He has done that before in these important games where we have needed to get something out of them and he has really stepped up. He is a big player for us.”

It was the second time 31-year-old Hougaard had clinched the league’s player of the month prize having won it in April 2016.

“He is a good role model for sure,” Kitchener added.

“He is very focused and determined.

“He trains really hard so he is a good example for the rest of the lads to learn from.”