Bath eyeing Hougaard as replacement for Butch

Premiership Rugby club Bath could replace their South African fly half Butch James with another South African fly half in Derick Hougaard.

James will return to South Africa at the end of the season as he hopes to make the Springbok Rugby world cup squad.

Hougaard’s contract as Saracens expires at the end of this season and is being considered by Bath.

Bath had originally considered filling the gap left by James by using Olly Barkley and Sam Vesty at number ten as they said that they did not want to rush into a replacement for James.

Barkley’s double leg fracture injury has shown bosses at Bath that they need a full time fly half and have since doubled their efforts to sign another 10.

The twenty-eight-year old who played for the Springboks in the 2003 Rugby World Cup is one of a handful of players being considered after Bath’s scrum-half and fellow South African Michael Claassens alerted the club to Hougaard.

“Derick Hougaard is one of the players who’s in the mix,” Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld confirmed to the Bath Chronicle.

“He is available now that Charlie Hodgson is going to Saracens from Sale.

“Player relationships are important and if he and Michael were to have that rapport that helps. It was actually Michael who alerted us to him.”

Bath head coach Steve Meehan admits finding the right fly-half is tough in a ‘players’ market’.

“You just don’t sit there and cherry pick anymore. It’s difficult,” said Meehan.

“Competition for players among clubs is higher now than it ever was, and the options for players are greater than they ever were.”

Bath have also been linked to Wallaby and Waratahs back Berrick Barnes although it is expected that he may sign with a French club.

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