Dobson: Son of Bok legend boasts ‘star’ potential

Stormers coach John Dobson has earmarked Andre-Hugo Venter, son of former Bok flanker Andre Venter, as one of the game’s future stars.

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The 19-year-old Venter Jnr. will make his Stormers debut on Friday against the Bulls should he come off the bench. The young hooker has been a standout for Maties in the Varsity Cup and gets his opportunity ahead of Scarra Ntubeni who is rested this week.

His father, Andre Venter, played 66 times for the Boks and was renowned for his abrasive style of play. Dobson believes that Andre-Hugo is very much following in his father’s footsteps.

‘We are very excited about Andre-Hugo Venter. We think he’s a big star of the future and he’ll play for us over the next two weeks.

‘[He] is the hooker version of his dad: tough, high speed, high aggression, intense work-rate, very competitive. He’s still going to learn; he’s 19-years-old.

‘A hooker won’t know all the nuances of scrumming, [lineout] throwing… that’s the sort of dark arts that takes a couple of years but I think you’ll see his intensity in general play.

‘He covers ground quickly, he’s really competitive, really aggressive.’

Dobson was quick to play down Venter’s lack of experience. He instead chose to draw attention to the learning opportunities Venter will have, particularly playing alongside seasoned campaigners.

‘[19] is young for a hooker, but the sooner we start the journey the better. He gets the privilege of playing with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Ali Vermaak. It will only enhance his career.

‘But I think we’re going to be delighted with him. He’s very tough, like his dad.’

The Stormers coach also touched upon the selection of Rosko Specman on the wing amidst the ongoing speculation that he is due a Springbok call-up.

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‘We can’t loan a player in the interest of trying to get him exposed for the national cause and then not choose him.

‘We want to play a more attacking brand of rugby and ‘Speccies’ fits those sort of plans. He fits how we see Western Province’s rugby over the years: a really good pack but then some X-factor at the back.’

The Stormers will have their work cut out for them if they are to break the Bulls’ record at Loftus, where the Pretoria side have still not lost a game in the Jake White era.

With the announcement of the Springbok squad for the British & Irish Lions Series taking place on Saturday, this match may be the last chance for some players to stake a claim for inclusion.

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