The next generation of Springbok stars will come from the Sharks veteran flank AJ Venter has predicted.
“I’m not afraid to say it either,” Venter told keo.co.za, “because I’m hugely impressed with how these guys are performing. I’m convinced a bunch of these youngsters will go on to the highest level.”
Venter, who himself is trying to get back into Jake White’s Bok squad after injury, says it is players like Ruan Pienaar and the Noble cousins who are the future of Sharks and Springbok rugby.
“It’s not just them though. We have a huge pool of unbelievably talented youngsters coming through and it’s on account of the (Sharks) Academy.”
“I’ve seen these guys training and trained with many of them and even the guys who have not yet been selected for the Super 14 or Wildebeest side are quality. Whatever they are learning at the Academy is working. I’m positive for the future of our rugby,” he said.
The 32-year-old loose-forward’s prediction is backed up by the fact that the Vodacom Cup side are completely dominating the competition and are currently favourites to take the title. The Wildebeest sit on top of the log having won seven from eight, their only loss a narrow shock defeat to the Falcons.
While the Super 14 outfit hasn’t quite set the scene alight this year, they have won three from eight and sit safely in ninth position on the log. That is three more wins than most critics believed they would achieve pre-season.
“We are not completely satisfied, but things are looking rather healthy for the Currie Cup and future Super 14s,” said Venter.
By Andrew Hollely