Derick Hougaard: ‘Rugby chapter far from over’


The rugby chapter in the book of his life is far from being written.

So says Derick Hougaard, the former Springbok kicking king, who stole the hearts of rugby fans in the early 2000s and was consequently dubbed “The darling of Loftus”.

A documentary series, Hougaard: Darling of Loftus, started broadcasting on kykNET on Wednesday evening. The series contains six episodes during which Derick undertakes a brave journey, against the background of rugby, to find out what is the cause of his personal problems.

Since his glory days as Blue Bull legend and Springbok, Derick has experienced a downward spiral characterized by public embarrassments and gossip stories.

For the first time, Derick talks intimately and personally about his life and meets, among other things, former players whose lives have also been irrevocably changed by rugby.

“It’s very scary to put yourself in the spotlight on a television show,” says Derick to RNews.

RNews previously reported that the initial broadcast date of this documentary was postponed in June while Derick was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of a Pretoria hospital.

“However, I’m getting incredible support and people from all over the world have let me know they’ve watched the first episode. I am very grateful for that.”

In the first episode of the series, the former Springbok flyhalf admits that he is struggling to move on with his life since he had to abandon his career as a pioneering kicker due to an injury.

He also shares in the first episode that he sometimes still broods over the past. “Rugby and everything that came with it took a lot out of my life. I try not to think about it every day,” says Derick.

Derick’s personal life has been the subject of frequent media scrutiny over the past two decades. However, he maintains that his relationship with his twin sons (by his ex-wife, the singer Karlien van Jaarsveld) is good.

“The public domain is a difficult one to navigate, but I want to leave a good legacy for my children and I work on it every day.”

He considers it part of his path to healing to share his life Hougaard: Darling of Loftus. “It was, and is, by the nature of the matter still very difficult,” he admits.

Derick confesses that he still dreams of playing rugby. “I still play rugby every night on my PlayStation, so rugby is still not out of my mind. I want to close the rugby chapter, but I know I haven’t quite done it yet. I just try to make the best of a bad case every day.”

Hougaard: Darling of Loftus can be seen on Wednesdays at 20:00 on kykNET (DStv channel 144). This documentary series will also be available on Catch Up and DStv Stream.