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James Venter is a local boy, born in Port Shepstone, schooled at Glenwood in Durban, played his junior rugby for the Cell C Sharks before expanding his horizons with the Golden Lions and then returning to Durban late last year.

Given the fact that he’s had two starts, it’s clear that he’s back home and loving it. Three years in Johannesburg didn’t quite realise the rugby rewards he had hoped for at the Lions and when the opportunity to come back to The Sharks, he grabbed it with both hands.

Given head coach Sean Everitt’s desire to exploit the fetcher role and Venter’s abilities there, the match appears to have been made.

“It’s amazing to be back, great to be in such an awesome environment with some of the world’s best players and I’m just relishing the opportunity to grow as a player,” he admitted from the team’s base in Wellington ahead of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes.

Having an out-and-out fetcher in the side has paid real dividends for the Cell C Sharks and not only has he contributed by stealing ball on the ground, but he also scored his maiden try for the team last weekend against the Highlanders.

“Being an openside flanker, that’s what you relish in the game, the breakdown and the physical aspect that comes with he. Getting turnovers is what moulds the openside position and this is the kind of game that I enjoy playing. So it’s been awesome getting out there and playing my natural game which complements what Sean wants.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me, but we worked really hard in the pre-season and it’s all coming together,” he admitted.

Scoring his try was by no means lucky, and he explained that, “If you work hard enough, those opportunities present themselves and given the gruelling pre-season, the speed is there and as soon as I got the opportunity, I just thought to myself ‘drop the clutch!’”

Given the great start to the tour, some might be inclined to think that there is a target for how many points the team would hope to bring home from the four matches, but that can be a dangerous prospect, losing sight of what’s important.

“No, we haven’t given that any thought,” he admitted. “We are a performance-based side that’s trying to chase our processes to play consistently each week. So while results are obviously desirable, we’re a team playing for great performances and enjoying our rugby. If we play at our best and achieve those two things, good things will come.

“We’re just looking to improve week by week and with the side we have, as we do grow, the results will take care of themselves.”

Given the fact that the team are away from the heat and humidity of Durban, Venter admitted that they are really enjoying the conditions in New Zealand.

“The conditions here complement our game because we have a lot of speed in the backline, a lot of skilful players. Training in Durban with the heat and wet ball is obviously very testing, so being able to play with a dry ball, the offloads sticking and being able to move the ball a bit really helps us.”

The post Back Home appeared first on The Sharks.

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The one with a "My Complex" - incurable but fun. Grumpy, Cynical, Wise and Idiotic. I can also be found HERE.