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    Scrumhalf quartet extends Cheetahs stay

    2016-06-03 11:00

    Cape Town - The Cheetahs have bolstered their scrumhalf stocks after four No 9s extended their contracts with the franchise.

    Shaun Venter, Tian Meyer, Zee Makhabela and Juan-Pierre Smith have all signed contracts that will keep them in Bloemfontein for the 2017 season.

    Venter, 29, joined the Cheetahs for the 2014 season after the Kings were relegated from Super Rugby. The talented scrumhalf progressed through the ranks at the Pumas, representing them at Under-19, Under-21, Vodacom and Currie Cup levels.

    In 2009, Venter represented the South African Sevens side in George and played for the South African Barbarians North during England’s tour of 2012.

    He has 121 provincial games and 50 Super Rugby to his credit.

    Meyer, 27 represented Sharks Under-19s (2006-2007) and Sharks Under-21s (2008-2009) and played his first senior provincial match for the Pumas in 2010, featuring on 19 occasions and scoring six tries in his debut season.

    He was included in the Lions' Super Rugby squad for the 2012 season, debuting against the Sharks in Durban and joined the Griquas just before the start of the 2014 Vodacom Cup.

    Meyer wore the No 9 jersey in Griquas' victory over the Golden Lions in the 2014 Vodacom Cup final before making his first Super Rugby appearance for the Cheetahs.  He has 61 Super Rugby caps to his credit.

    Mkhabela, 21, represented the SA Under-20 squad that participated at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand and played in 11 matches for the Free State U21s.

    In 2015, Mkhabela was included in the UFS Shimlas squad for the 2015 Varsity Cup. He made seven appearances for the Shimlas in the pool stages but missed out on the playoffs.  After the competition he was named as replacement scrumhalf in a Varsity Cup Dream Team that played a match against the SA U20s.

    Mkhabela played in four Currie Cup matches for the Free State Cheetahs, making his debut on  August 8, 2015 from the bench against the Blue Bulls.

    Smith, 22, matriculated from Queens College and represented the Blue Bulls Under-19 side in 2013 and the Under-21 side in 2014.  He was also selected for the SA Under-20 side in 2014 and went on to play for the Blue Bulls in the 2015 Vodacom Cup. 

    The youngster joined Free State in 2016 and has already played in eight Currie Cup matches for the Free State Cheetahs XV.

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