Currie Cup

‘Young’ Cheetahs full of confidence

2015-10-27 13:17
Francois Venter (Gallo Images)

Bloemfontein - Cheetahs centre Francois Venter believes they are in a good position ahead of the 2016 season.

The Cheetahs endured a disappointing start to this year’s Currie Cup, losing three of their opening six fixtures of the domestic campaign.

However, they did well to bounce back, securing a place in the semi-finals in dramatic fashion. They scored two converted tries in the final five minutes to earn a 34-34 draw against the Sharks during the last round of league games, which was enough to see them finish in fourth spot.

Although they were beaten 43-33 by the Golden Lions in Johannesburg during the playoffs, Venter believes it was a courageous performance - one that proved that there are positive things to come from the Bloemfontein-based union.

“Overall, we have a young and exciting young squad, with a good group of experienced leaders. Across the board, there’s so much great talent,” Venter told

“This was proven against the Lions. They were the clear favourites going into the semi-finals, but we managed to push them close on their home ground. At one stage, the game could’ve gone either way.

“We also have an exciting coach in Franco Smith, who brings out the best in his players. He encourages us to play our natural game and what’s in front of us,” Venter added.

“This Currie Cup was a great learning experience for the team. It has definitely made us stronger as we now focus on Super Rugby next season. We will also be strengthened by the Griquas and Griffons players who will join the squad during the off-season, giving the Cheetahs more depth.”

Venter formed part of an exciting Cheetahs backline, which made a positive impact with ball in hand. He believes this will be a key weapon in their arsenal next year.

“We have an exciting and attacking backline. We want to put the opposition under pressure by getting the team over the gainline and exposing the spaces in the defence,” said Venter. “A guy like Clayton Blommetjies did so very well during the Currie Cup as he created many linebreaks.

“I’m also very happy with my game. I’ve been working hard on my ball-carrying and distribution skills. I hope to play a big role for the Cheetahs going forward.”

Venter’s impressive form this season saw him called up to the Springbok squad earlier this year. He hopes he can play his way into the national team again in the near future.

“I was very proud of that call-up. It means I’m doing something right, and I hope to continue doing well. It’s my childhood dream to play for the Springboks, so hopefully, I can achieve this one day.”

The Cheetahs will be on a break until they start their off-season preparations on November 9. Venter started his holiday in Mozambique, where he spent a few days with a few friends.

“It was great to get a break and travel over to Mozambique. It’s important to get away from the game whenever possible, so you can come back refreshed and focused,” said Venter. “I’m looking forward to some downtime with friends and family before we start our off-season preparations in two weeks’ time. It’s going to be an exciting 2016.”

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