Free State Rugby confirmed that Francois Venter will be leaving the Toyota Cheetahs after the Guinness PRO14 season.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my rugby career at the end of the Guinness 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 Toyota Cheetahs. I would like to thank everyone at the end of the season,” said Francois 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 Toyota Cheetahs would like to win the Guinness 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 Toyota Cheetahs.
Free State Rugby would like to thank Francois for representing the Toyota 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 Toyota 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 Toyota Cheetahs over the last five years,” said Free State Rugby.
Captain Francois Venter embarked upon his third campaign with the Toyota 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 Championships.
He made his debut for the Bloemfontein-based team against the Lions on 15 Feb 2014 in Bloemfontein, and in 2015 he has played in all 16 Super matches, captaining the Toyota Cheetahs against the Highlanders in Bloemfontein on 16 May 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 Toyota 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 12 Nov 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 Francois 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 both matches.
Venter played his 50th SuperRugby match on the 21 April 2017 against the Crusaders.
Made his Guinness PRO14 debut against Munster on the 9 September 2017 and played in 10 matches so far.