Cheetahs name Venter as Super Rugby captain

Francois Venter will captain the Cheetahs in 2016

Bloemfontein based Super Rugby franchise the Cheetahs have named Francois Venter as their captain for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Venter takes over from Francois Uys who was the Cheetahs Super Rugby captain in 2015 and has left to play for Japanese club Verblitz.

In 2016 the Cheetahs will have a new look about them as they will have a new coach and will be without Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks who have joined the Sharks and Stormers respectively.

The 24-year-old Venter enjoyed his first taste of international rugby last year when he was selected in Michael Cheika’s Barbarians squad that played against Gloucester and Argentina in England in November.

He said that taking over as Cheetahs captain was a highlight of his career which started in Bloemfontein.

“It is a big privilege for me to lead the team, it comes with great responsibility as well,” said Venter.

While the responsibility presents a new challenge for the Grey College old boy, he showed during the 2015 season that he doesn’t lack commitment as he made 169 tackles – the most of any backline players – during the tournament.

Venter also scored seven tries and insisted that with the help of the more experienced men in the team, the Free State squad should do well.

“The leadership team is Lood de Jager, Boom Prinsloo, Oupa Mahoje, Torsten van Jaarsveld and Ryno Benjamin.

“I think we have really strong leaders, with Lood there he has a lot of confidence following his outstanding world cup campaign. Boom, Oupa and Torsten have captained the side or at least the Free State so I have great leaders behind me,” Venter explained.

Coach Franco Smith, will guide the team for his first full season as the team’s mentor after taking over from Naka Drotské for the last two games of the 2015 campaign.

Smith has made numerous changes to the team and at the franchise since his inception as the coach, however Venter’s appointment as captain is by far the biggest and most significant to date.

Venter’s first task at hand will be lead the Cheetahs and against the new boys on the block – the Jaguars of Argentina in their opening match of the Super Rugby.

The Cheetahs kick-off their campaign on Friday, February 26 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

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