WORCESTER Warriors star Francois Hougaard is likely to be sidelined for up to a month with a shoulder injury.

The influential scrum-half sustained the blow four minutes into the second half of Worcester’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Northampton Saints last Saturday.

The loss of Hougaard had an immediate effect on the match as Warriors went from leading 9-6 to losing 35-16 at Franklin’s Gardens.

And Worcester now face being without their talisman for their next two league matches, starting with Exeter Chiefs at Sixways on Sunday and then next Saturday's trip to Harlequins.


Director of rugby Alan Solomons revealed Hougaard had injured his rotator cuff which is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint.

Solomons admitted the injury was “not as bad as it could have been” as Hougaard does not require surgery.

But the Warriors chief expected the South Africa international to be ruled out for between three and four weeks.

“He will be out for a few weeks,” Solomons said.

“It’s always difficult to say with an injury of that nature but it will be probably be at least three weeks that one would anticipate that he would be out for.

“It doesn’t require any surgery or anything like that. It just has to be rehabbed.

“Hopefully he will be back on the field in three or four weeks. But you don’t really know.”

Solomons said Hougaard’s “excellent” level of conditioning had spared him further damage to his shoulder.

And he reckoned there was a chance the 31-year-old could be back in the fold for Worcester’s European Challenge Cup match at Castres Olympique on November 23.

“For those sorts of injuries you usually say three to six weeks conservatively,” Solomons said.

“It’s not as bad as it could have been because it may have necessitated an operation and a lengthier rehab.

“The advantage that Francois has got is that he keeps his body in excellent condition.

“The muscles around the shoulder protect everything. He is in a great nick.”

Asked whether Hougaard could be back for next month’s European Challenge Cup matches Solomons said: “We can look at that and see where we go.

“Certainly not the first one (at Enisei-STM on November 15)) but maybe the second one (against Castres).

“I am hoping that we will get him back in three or four weeks.”

Hougaard picked up the injury after an off-the-ball altercation with Saints inside centre Rory Hutchinson.

The number nine was thrown to the ground by Hutchinson, landing on his shoulder.

Referee Jack Makepeace asked television match official Nigel Carrick whether any action needed to be taken before giving Northampton a scrum.

When speaking to Saints skipper Alex Waller and Warriors captain Ryan Mills, Makepeace said: “That (scuffle) can't happen again in the game as we’ll start penalising people.

"You have got an opportunity to talk to everyone. The TMO has not come in so we are going to start with a (Saints) scrum."

Solomons said he understood the matter had been addressed by officials and no action had been taken.

“I think the citing commissioner was aware of it, so the matter has been dealt with,” Solomons added.

“If he was involved in it the citing commissioner obviously felt it didn’t merit anything.”