KSA Shark ©

Pierre Spies v Ryan Kankowski

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 10 Jun 2008 at 22:32

Former Springbok forward AJ Venter is glad that it’s not his job to choose between Pierre Spies and Ryan Kankowski before South Africa play Wales in the second rugby Test in Pretoria on Saturday.

Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that selecting one of the two talented players at No 8 is the responsibility of Springbok coach Peter de Villiers. “I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision,” Venter said here on Tuesday.

“Ryan is an extremely talented player. He has all the qualities one wants in a good No 8. He has speed and is explosive.

“But Pierre was outstanding in last week’s Test,” Venter said when he arrived at his first practice with the Western Province Currie Cup squad.

The 34-year-old Venter, who also played at No 8 for South Africa and was in the same Sharks Super 14 squad as Kankowski until a few weeks ago, has been contracted as a lock forward by WP.

However, he may be at No 8 in his new team’s first Currie Cup match on June 20.

WP coach Allister Coetzee has hinted that Venter could be utilised at the back.

“We will have a look at our needs. We have four good locks (Francois van der Merwe, Ross Skeate, Adriaan Fondse and Rito Hlungwani) and two of our loose forwards (Luke Watson and Schalk Burger) are with the Springboks.

Leave something of value

“It could be better to use AJ as a loose forward now. His input will be valuable.”

Coetzee said the presence of an experienced player such as Venter created confidence among the younger players.

Venter said he would play wherever Province may need him. “I can play in either of the lock positions and anywhere among the loose forwards.

“I’m not as fast as the young guys are but I hope to leave something of value during the short time that I’ll be with WP.”

The whole WP backline is on international duty and some top forwards have also been called up. The team will therefore rely heavily on players such as Venter and flyhalf Willem de Waal during the early part of the competition.

De Waal, a former Cheetahs star, is expected to join the rest of the WP squad on Wednesday, in time for the training camp that starts at Somerset West in three days’ time.

With 17 WP players in the Springbok squad and the Emerging Springbok team, and wing Sireli Naqelevuki back in Fiji’s squad, it will take some knuckling down to keep the WP campaign on track.

Venter, however, has moved to Cape Town with some serious ambitions. “The only time I was in a team that won the Currie Cup was with the Lions in 1999.

“I was also fortunate to be part of the (SA) team that won the Tri-Nations in 2004. Other than that, there are not many medals in the Venter household.”

The WP squad for the training camp: AJ Venter, Adriaan Fondse, Allister Siegelaar, Brock Harris, Conraad Britz, Dabeon Draghoender, Danie van der Merwe, David Hendricks, Deon Fourie, Dylan des Fountain, Francois Louw, Francois van der Merwe, Gio Aplon, Joe Pietersen, Justin Melck, Mark Goosen, PJ Vermeulen, Paul Delport, Pieter Myburgh, Ricardo Croy, Rito Hlungwani, Ross Skeate, Ruaan du Preez, Schalk Ferreira, Simon Westraad, Terry Jacobs, Wicus Blaauw, Willem de Waal, Wylie Human and Zhahier Ryland.


  • PLEASE play Venter at loose forward against us, under the full ELV’s… 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.06.08 22:40:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Dabeon Draghoender?

    Is that nasty?

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.06.08 01:00:19 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • “the entire WP backline on internetional duty…”

    Thats actually pretty damned impressive especially with both scrumhalves (when Ricky is back) and two fullbacks.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.06.08 01:01:15 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Rugby 365 reports on it in this way.

    Venter gets ‘utility’ role at WP

    Coach Allister Coetzee is still undecided about where the tough-as-nails AJ Venter will play for Western Province in the upcoming Currie Cup season.

    The 25-times capped Springbok, who has been used both as a flank and lock during his international career, was a surprise signing from the Sharks for the ‘Streeptruie’ at the end of the Super 14 season, and was formally introduced to the Cape Town media on Tuesday, after he trained with WP at their Durbanville base.

    “AJ can be used as a lock or flank, and even now he is good enough to play in either position at international level,” said Coetzee, WP’s new Currie Cup coach.

    “He brings a wealth of experience to this squad, and he’ll be a great help to the younger players.

    “We’ll also be looking to AJ to play a leadership role.”

    Venter said he had discussed the matter with Coetzee.

    “I’m not as fast as some of the younger players,” said Venter, who retired from international duty last year.

    “What matters is that I play where it will benefit the team. I can play flank, lock or eighthman.”

    The chances are that Venter will make his WP debut against his former province, in Durban, where the season opens on Friday, June 20.

    Venter said he had thought about that possibility.

    “Look, I have no bad feelings about the Sharks,” said Venter.

    “There will probably be a few boos when I run on. But when the whistle goes it
    will be ‘game on’.

    “I’m not going to have a problem fitting in with the Province pattern because the structures are similar to that at the Sharks.

    “There are a lot of talented players in this Province squad, which have great coaches at their disposal.”

    Venter said he was hoping to win a trophy with his new province because he has not tasted much success in his career.

    “The Venter household doesn’t have much to show by way of silverware,” said Venter. “In 1999 I was at the Lions when they won the Currie Cup, and then I was in the 2004 Springbok squad that won the Tri-Nations.

    “So winning the Currie Cup with Province will be great so that I can enjoy another championship in my career.”

    WP’s other signing flyhalf Willem De Waal, who has been playing for French Second Division club Narbonne, failed to arrive for training on Tuesday.

    “Willem [De Waal] will join us for training on Wednesday morning,” said Coetzee. “He is flying in from France and we understand that his flight was delayed and he’ll be landing later today [Tuesday].”

    On Tuesday, Coetzee announced a 30-man training squad, which will attend a three-day camp in Somerset West, starting on Wednesday.

    WP have several players, 18 in all, on duty with the Springboks, Emerging Springboks and the Baby Boks (SA Under-20). The latter two teams will finish their assignments within the next week, and the Boks round off their Tri-Nations campaign at the end of August.

    Province could then be at full strength at the start of September.

    Province played their second warm-up match last Saturday against a Namibian XV in Windhoek, where they subjected to a “terribly” physical encounter. Coetzee said the WP players felt “sore” after the match, which they won 45-6 after Province ran in seven tries.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.06.08 06:26:05 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Headline is slightly misleading. I expected an in depth comparison between Spies & Kanko and it’s really a piece about Oupa AJ. 😀

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.06.08 08:06:19 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 5) : Thank you Rachel… I was about to say the same thing. I was expecting weight and height comparisons…style comparisons…that type of thing.

    I don’t give a hoot where WP wants to play Venter… 😡 (I refuse to refer to him as AJ – he’s a stranger now 😈 )

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.06.08 08:25:08 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!

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