THERE are injury concerns over Worcester Warriors talisman Francois Hougaard after Saturday’s 35-16 loss at Northampton Saints.

Hougaard sustained a blow to his left shoulder six minutes into the second half and disappeared down the tunnel for further treatment.



The 31-year-old scrum-half is now likely to undergo a scan this week to determine to extent of the damage.

Director of rugby Alan Solomons said Hougaard’s injury was a “concern” and felt his withdrawal was a “big factor” in the result.

“We will have to have it (his shoulder) properly examined,” said Solomons immediately after the match at Franklin’s Gardens.

“If necessary it will be scanned and then we will determine (what’s wrong with it).

“Losing him was also a big factor in that game.”

Asked how Hougaard picked up the injury, Solomons said: “It looked to me like there was some sort of altercation on the ground.

“But I could not see from where I was sat right at the top of the stand.

“It looks to me like it’s a shoulder (injury).

“Of course it is a concern as he makes a big difference to us and losing him did not help our cause.”

Asked whether he thought Hougaard would need to be X-rayed, Solomons added: “Probably.”

Worcester were leading 9-6 when Hougaard was forced off. Two minutes later Saints scored the first of their five tries.

His replacement, Jono Kitto, almost thwarted the hosts as he stopped George Furbank from dotting down James Grayson’s grubber kick.

But the number nine was only able to claw the ball into the path of Tom Collins who applied the finishing touch in the in-goal area.

“Jono is a good rugby player, he is brave and quite quick,” Solomons said.

“He came on under quite difficult circumstances because around the time Francois went off they got the two tries to take them to 20-9 in front.”

On Collins’ try, Solomons said: “Jono tried to get the ball down. He did beat (Furbank) to the ball and it went loose.

“He wasn’t able to dot it down and I could not see (what happened after that) on the screen.

“Jono has not played for a while.

“It’s always collective responsibility. No individuals win or lose games.

“I think a team wins or loses a game and we really let ourselves down in that second half.”

Solomons will now look to pick up his players ahead of next Sunday’s clash with Exeter Chiefs at Sixways.

“To have that extra day does make a difference,” Solomons said.

“The coaches will be in working but the players will be off on Monday which will help them recover from this game and then we will have a full week to prepare for Exeter.”

Exeter kicked off the season with a 22-19 win over Harlequins only to lose 13-10 at Bath in muddy conditions on Friday.

“It was very difficult under those circumstances,” Solomons said.

“Well done to Bath but Exeter are a really powerful outfit.

“Everybody knows how Exeter play. They are just very good at it.”