Tuesday, August 16, 2022

South Africa

URC Champions secure key players with contract extensions

Centre Cornel Smit and hooker Andre-Hugo Venter are the latest young players to sign contract extensions with the United Rugby Championship (URC) winners the Stormers.

Smit and Venter have both made the step up to senior rugby over the last two seasons. 

The pair also featured in the Stormers URC title-winning campaign.

Young players commit to URC champs

The 24-year-old Smit represented Western Province at Craven Week in 2015 and came through the junior age-group ranks at the union while also featuring in midfield for Maties in the Varsity Cup. 

Smit made his Stormers debut in 2020 and is one of a number of homegrown talents in the current squad.

Venter is technically still a junior player at just 20 years old but has already made his mark at the senior level.

The son of Springbok hard man Andre Venter has shown maturity beyond his years and featured prominently at the business-end of the URC, scoring a crucial try in the Grand Final at DHL Stadium.

Andre-Hugo Venter of Stormers celebrates winning the Vodacom United Rugby Championship during the United Rugby Championship 2021/22 Grand Final between Stormers and Bulls held at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa on 18 June 2022 Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Stormers Head Coach John Dobson is looking forward to seeing further growth from both of these players in the years to come.

“Cornel is a smart player who is poised to take his career to the next level, so we are glad that will be here where he has played all of his rugby.

“Andre-Hugo is an immensely exciting prospect who has a very bright future ahead of him. We are thrilled to keep both of these players in our system and expect big things of both of them,” he said.

Smit said that he is delighted to extend with the team he grew up supporting.

“As a local boy I always dreamed of playing for the DHL Stormers and it is great to have the backing of the coaches going forward,” he said.

Venter is keen to build on what he has already achieved in a short time in Cape Town and establish himself in the URC.

“I could not be happier with where I am with my rugby at the moment. I was really backed after coming back from injury this season and I want to contribute as much as I can to the team in the seasons ahead,” he said.

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