Cape Town - Free State Rugby has confirmed that Francois Venter will be
leaving the Cheetahs after the PRO14 season.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my
rugby career at the end of the PRO14 season at the Worcester Warriors
in England. This was certainly the hardest decision I ever had to take
because I’m so happy at the Cheetahs. I would like to thank
everyone at the end of the season,” said Venter.
“For now I want
to focus my attention on Saturday’s match. There is still a lot of rugby
to be played and our Cheetahs would like to win the PRO14. I hope to see a lot of people in Toyota Stadium on Saturday - we
really need your support.”
“Francois has been a wonderful servant of Free State Rugby
and a true professional and on and off the field. He is one of the
hardest working players in the team,” said the coaching staff of the Cheetahs.
Free State Rugby thanked Venter for
representing the Cheetahs with integrity, respect and honour and we wish
him all the best for the next chapter in his career.
“It has been a pleasure working with him since he made his
debut for the Cheetahs in 2014 and to see him rise through the ranks and
becoming one of the best centres in South Africa. Although this was tough
decision for him to take we certainly can’t doubt the dedication, the sacrifices
and hard work he has given to the Cheetahs over the last five years,”
said Free State Rugby.
Venter embarked upon his third campaign
with the Cheetahs in 2014 after transferring from the Bulls following
the 2013 Super Rugby season. The hard-running inside centre was a member
of the South African U20 team that competed in the 2010 and 2011 Junior World
Venter made his debut for the Bloemfontein-based team against
the Lions on February 15, 2014 in Bloemfontein, and in 2015 he has played in all 16
Super matches, captaining the Cheetahs against the Highlanders in
Bloemfontein on May 16, 2015.
In 2015 Venter had an exceptional year on the field and was
selected for the Barbarians team at the end of the year. His hard work
paid off and he was rewarded by being chosen to lead the Cheetahs onto
the field in 2016. In 2016 Venter was included in the Springbok end of
the year Europe tour. He made his Springbok debut on November 12, 2016 against England. Venter played in the semi-final against the Lions
in Bloemfontein and in the home final against the Blue Bulls. (2016 Currie Cup champions).
In 2017 Venter was included in the SA 'A' squad
against the French Barbarians. He did not play the first match in Durban, but
he made the starting line-up in their second and final encounter against the
French Barbarians, he also captained the SA 'A' in this match. The SA 'A' team won
Venter played his 50th Super Rugby match on the April 21, 2017
against the Crusaders.
Venter made his PRO14 debut against Munster on the September 9, 2017 and played in 10 matches so far.