WORCESTER Warriors' Francois Hougaard almost didn't play today due to illness but played through it and went on to score a hat-trick of tries in Warriors' narrow defeat at home to Sale Sharks on Saturday.

Hougaard, who is leaving the club to join Premiership rivals Wasps this summer, was a stand out performer on the day and head coach Jonathan Thomas praised his courageous attitude.

"I thought he put in a huge effort today," said Thomas.

"He had been ill and we weren't even sure he was going to play this morning because he's been on antibiotics and it was touch and go whether he would play so for him to go out there and play like that just shows what a true Warrior he is.

"Francois is a true pro and he is still fully committed to the cause.

Hougaard was a frustrated character at the final whistle, saying his side caused themselves problems and ultimately had themselves to blame for the result.

"It's tough," he admitted.

"We came so close but we only have ourselves to blame, it came down to silly mistakes. Credit to Sale, they are a great side and we knew it would be a fight to the end.

"We were in the game the whole time but we only have ourselves to blame because we gave away such soft tries and I think to be a great side you have to cut out those soft moments and be on it the whole time.

"You see today if you are not on it at all times, you can fall behind quickly and then you have to play catch up."

But the South African scrum-half couldn't fault the "fighting" attitude from the entire squad on the day.

"I think the guys came out fighting," he added.

"It was just small detail that we couldn't put together. But I am proud of the guys and proud to have been playing with them today.

"I want to enjoy my last games here, it doesn't matter whether I am going or staying, i do give my all every weekend."

Worcester played their final game (hopefully) without supporters. By the time they come to their next home game, Leicester Tigers on May 29, Sixways will have fans back in attendance.

Hougaard is looking forward to playing his final few games for the club in front of the Worcester faithful.

"The fans make a massive difference," he continued.

"Sometimes I think we don't realise it but even if there are 1000 or 2000 people in here, it makes a massive difference, we do really appreciate the fans and it will be amazing having them back.

"For different people, you get your motivation of different things and I know a lot of people feed on the crowd."