Quick tap with Andre-Hugo Venter

PUBLISHED: May 29, 2024

Hooker Andre-Hugo Venter on being a part-time loose forward, his 1967 Land Cruiser and balancing his studies with his rugby.

You played a bit of loose forward at school. When did you make the switch to hooker and do you ever wish you could play at the back of the scrum again instead of in the front row?

I stopped playing loose forward in U14, then I became a hooker who played a bit of flank up until Matric. At Craven Week I played one game or even half a game at flank, but I used to switch between the two positions often enough. I would love to be able to go back to the back row, not as a permanent switch, but more to be able to play loose forward if it’s needed or like a Brannas (Deon Fourie) type of role. I was quite happy to play almost a full 30 minutes at flank against La Rochelle and really enjoyed it. I would like to be seen as a player who is primarily a hooker, but can play both.

You have a pretty old car, can you explain the story behind it?

It is a 1967 Land Cruiser. We took the old engine out of it and put a new Toyota V8 engine in. We tried to keep as many of the original parts as we could. At the end of the day I think it is more a kind of sentimental thing for me and my dad. It is something that I will never sell. I’ll keep it forever I think.

If you were to choose three teammates to take on a cross-country road trip with you, who would they be and why?

This is actually an unfair question because we have a group that we call ‘Brokkie en die boksombende’ who all go hunting together every year. That is Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Kade Wolhuter and Marcel Theunissen, as well as Deon Fourie this year. If I had to choose three it would probably be Adre, Marcel and Neetas. I would take Adre with to keep the laughs going and cause a bit of nonsense. Neethling you have to bring along just for the parental overview to make sure everything is in order. I’d take Marcel with for his fishing skills, if we stopped somewhere and had to fish from the campsite.

You moved to Cape Town straight after school. What was it like making the move from Bloemfontein and what do you enjoy most about living here?

The thing I probably enjoyed most about coming to Cape Town was learning to live on my own, meeting new people and learning new things. One of the things I appreciate the most about the Western Cape is how beautiful it is here. The mountains and the beaches are amazing. Being able to visit the beach every day if you want to or drive half an hour out of town and you can be on a hiking trail.

You have been studying while playing and even writing exams when on tour. Can you explain what you are studying and how it is going?

I am studying a Bcomm in Management and Accounting, I’m in my third year now although it feels like I have been studying for 20 years. My dad always gives me a hard time and says I could have been a doctor by now. I’m turning 23 this year, so it will be five years that I have been studying. It is quite difficult though because I can’t go to classes at all and my exams have to be written at Stellenbosch University. There have been a few exams that I have been able to write while on tour overseas, but those have to be specially approved and invigilated with cameras on. I’m really hoping to finish next year and after that I’ll probably take a break so that I can focus solely on my rugby.