Remember AJ Venter? Where is he now?

Written by Benedict Chanakira (bchanakira2)

Posted in :Original Content on 6 Jun 2014 at 09:13
Tagged with : , , , ,

I caught up with the aggressive, hard ex-Sharks player. He is still alive, in Natal and we talk Italian woman, that final in 2007 and more!

Benedict: How are you AJ?

AJ: All good thank you

B: What are you doing these days?

AJ: I am in the transport business, I own a few super links and sub for a large manufacturing company based in Pietermaritzburg. I am also involved with Supersport commentating on various rugby games. I have also decided to start studying again (Business Management).

B: From playing rugby to cross-country racing? Why?

AJ: I have made myself a bucket list, things to do that are out there and dangerous. One of them was to do some kind of racing, I then met the guys at Regent racing owned by Terence Marsh and they asked if I want to co-drive for Terence in one of the national legs held in Mooiriver. Of course I said yes and I had an absolute blast! In November I am going to Nepal to compete in the “World Elephant Polo Championship” , I am very much looking forward to that.

B: How did it feel playing against Wales in 2000?

AJ: I think that any rugby player in South Africa dreams to run out for your country, so that was the culmination of years of hard work. I can’t remember much of it, due to the hype and excitement of playing your first game for the Boks, but I am so privileged to have played that game and another 26 after that.

B: Having played for the Sharks, Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers, Which side is closest to your heart?

AJ: It’s a very hard question to answer, I have fond memories of each of those provinces. I grew up in the Free State and so it’s close to my heart as my roots are there. My one year at the Lions was amazing because we were a young and unknown team and went on to win the Currie Cup in Durban that year (1999). I spent my longest time as a player in Durban (10 years) and I still live here, I love this place and the the time spent at the Sharks. Lastly Western Province, who wouldn’t love living in Cape Town? It was a fantastic last season of my career and I have made a lot of friends there.

B: At home at lock, flank and number 8. What was your favorite position. Which suited you more?

AJ: When I was younger I preferred flank (7) and eighthman, it gave me a bit more freedom to express my rugby, as I got older and maybe a bit slower and wiser I started to enjoy lock a bit more.

B: Have you recovered from that heart-break in 2007 against the Blue Bulls? Any resentment towards the referee?

AJ: I can’t even remember that game (chuckles), of course there is no resentment! We all do our best at all times, and the same goes for the referee.

B: How was Italy? You were one of the pioneers of playing abroad.

AJ: I absolutely love Italy, it was probably three of the best years of my rugby career. I have enjoyed living in Rovigo and I have made so many friends, I have also learned to speak Italian which was very important to me. And I love Italian food, wine, and of course their woman.

B: The best player you have ever played with?

AJ: There were so many it’s impossible to mention, but for me it was very important to be with guys that just gave everything for the team and play at their hardest.

B: Who was the laziest player you have trained with?

AJ: (Giggles) No I cant answer this question.

B: Are you still involved in rugby? Giving back?

AJ: Yes I am helping at College Rovers, with the forwards.

B: In the current era. What is your Springbok XV?

AJ: 1 Beast 2 Bismarck 3 Jannie 4 Etzebeth 5 PS du Toit 6 Brussow 7 Alberts 8 Vermuelen 9 Hougaard 10 Goosen 11 Habana 12 De Villiers 13 De Jong 14 Pietersen 15 Frans Steyn

B:Thanks AJ!

AJ: No problem, keep well.


  • AJ is also a ballito man. I see him around town often. One of my favourite players ever!
    That springbok team of his looks awesome. Note only one overseas player. Habana. The only overseas player that cant be touched by someone local.

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.06.14 09:41:58 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • Nice one Benedict. Seems us fans have a better memory of that game than the players themselves. Time for a Sharksworld group-therapy session? “How to get over your Super Rugby loss in 12 steps” :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.06.14 09:48:56 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : 👿
    Pump da brakes man, yo bout to cross some lines!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.06.14 09:55:15 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • I will never get over it.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.06.14 09:57:04 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 3) : 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.06.14 10:03:50 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 4) : 👿 The ball was clearly knocked on by them. We won it and set up a ruck, Wickus van Heerden turned it over illegally (DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF STEVE WALSH!!!!!) and it went out for Habana to score.

    The heartache and disbelief are still fresh in my mind!

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.06.14 10:14:38 by ChrisS Reply
  • AJ is one of the best guy’s you will ever meet.We love having him involved at the Rover.He has made a huge impact on the team.wat a legend

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.06.14 10:19:55 by skull Reply

  • I 4 one am still in treatment since that 2007 final- i was there, ready to go party, we already said thanks for coming to the bulls sitting around us- #fail.
    Nice article though, Benedict.

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.06.14 10:23:19 by Gerhardt Reply

  • Make him a selector, I like his team. I would lean towards Kockott and Lambie at 9 & 10, but then I am from Durban.

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.06.14 12:21:14 by markp Reply

  • @ChrisS (Comment 6) : plus Habana shouldnt have been on the field after his ….ah whatever

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.06.14 16:35:30 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 1) : what will he fall to the ground like a soccer player it they touch him?!?!?!

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.06.14 16:58:51 by JD Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 6) : @Gerhardt (Comment 8) : @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 10) : So obviously step one is all about dealing with our denial :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.06.14 16:59:22 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : foock it’s been 7 years if they’re not over it by now they will never get over it!!!

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.06.14 17:05:04 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 13) : Neverrrr!!!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.06.14 09:59:11 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : I will get over the 2007 final the day the Sharks finally win a Superrugby title.

    Not before.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.06.14 10:47:06 by jonnow Reply

  • @jonnow (Comment 15) :
    Well said…..me to, need the title to bury that ghost. The only way we can move on.

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.06.14 10:40:01 by Lieplapper Reply

  • I feel the same! NEVER ……. TMO would have made the right thing happen if they’d have had the same power they have today! I was there too!

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.06.14 21:30:21 by [email protected] Reply

  • @jonnow (Comment 15) : @Lieplapper (Comment 16) : come on guys time passed and it is time to get over it. A Super rugby title will be nice but would not change a thing of what happened in the past.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.06.14 21:32:31 by JD Reply
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  • @[email protected] (Comment 17) : it is done was bad but it’s in the past. Time to look forward and move on.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.06.14 21:36:52 by JD Reply
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  • Who can forget AJ Venter. From that brilliant Currie Cup final game he had for Tvl against Natal, to his many games for the Sharks, Boks and Stormers, from being Fabio the fashion icon with an Italian influence. The man is larger than life and embraces life to the fullest and the best of all is he gives back.

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.06.14 08:56:20 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : And that awesome head-butt on Fleckie haha! No AJ is a legend, deserved a few more Bok call-ups, but there was some competition with Schalk and Juan Smith during his time, and of course Victor and Bakkies were in their prime too.

  • Comment 21, posted at 15.01.15 10:34:21 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 21) : ja had some really tough competition for Bok spots. Great player!!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 15.01.15 11:33:04 by JD Reply
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