Edinburgh sign Boan Venter, according to South African news report

Loose-head prop will join club in February on a two and a half year deal, according to the player's agent

Boan Venter appears to be Edinburgh's latest recruit from South Africa. Image courtesy: Twitter
Boan Venter appears to be Edinburgh's latest recruit from South Africa. Image courtesy: Twitter

EDINBURGH have signed Cheetah’s prop Boan Venter on a two and a half year deal, according to the player’s agent as reported in the South African press.

The 23-year-old loose-head prop, who was previously linked to Gloucester and Leicester Tigers, will join Richard Cockerill’s squad in February, in time to provide cover during the Six Nations Championship.

Edinburgh have been well covered in the position when all their players are available to them, with Rory Sutherland and Pierre Schoeman competing for the No 1 jersey, and Jamie Bhatti and Sam Grahamslaw providing back-up. But last week Bhatti was allowed to leave for Bath with immediate effect, Sutherland is first choice for Scotland so will be absent for much of February and March, and 21-year-old Grahamslaw’s game time in recent years has been limited by injury meaning he has only made three senior appearances for the club off the bench.

The need for at least one new signing in the position is all the more pressing because Schoeman will become eligible for Scotland in the summer after spending three years living here. Venter has been particularly impressive in the scrum in recent weeks, and should find it easy to fit into a squad which already contains a number of his compatriots.

The Cheetahs and their fellow-South-Africans the Southern Kings competed in the PRO14 for the last three seasons, but were unable to take part when the competition got underway again after lockdown this autumn because of Covid-related travel restrictions. They have now effectively been frozen out of the PRO14 for the longer term with the announcement last week of the new Rainbow Cup competition, which will see four other South African sides – the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks and the Stormers – compete with the PRO14’s current 12 teams.

The Rainbow Cup is seen as the precursor to the full integration of those four sides into the PRO14 – which will be renamed the PRO16 – from season 2021-22. Edinburgh have yet to comment on the reports of Venter’s signing.


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About David Barnes 4004 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

13 Comments

    • “The money argument is a red Herring. South Africans are cheap”

      Doesn’t that make the money argument anything but a red herring?

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  1. Having a look through the Academy lists in the last 15 years or so.

    In that time SRU Academy has produced 9 Scotland caps at prop – Moray Low, Ryan Grant, Gordon Reid, Alex Allan, Rory Sutherland, James Bhatti, Darcy Rae, Zander Fagerson and Murray McCallum. Of those Grant went on a Lions tour, Sutherland and Fagerson may in the future; Gordon Reid probably maximised his talents; it could be argued that Allan, Bhatti, Rae and McCallum have all plateaued under SRU tutelage.

    11 other props have graduated from the Academy to win professional contracts somewhere: Bruce McNeill, Gary Strain, Lewis Niven, George Hunter, Euan McQuillan, Colin Phillips, Robin Hislop, Jack Cosgrove, Phil Cringle, Adam Nicol and Sam Grahamslaw. Why has Hislop never got a contract IN Scotland? When will Adam Nicol get a proper run at Glasgow?

    There are 5 props in the senior academy at present – Shaun Gunn (98) Murphy Walker (99), Tom Lambert (99) Dan Gamble (01) Cole Lamberton (01) Gamble looks the real deal, but when will Walker get the opportunity his club form for Stirling deserves?

    Injuries interrupt prop progress inevitably and there are a fair amount of guys who haven’t graduated beyond the academy because of injury.

    But recently Ross Dunbar (98) Dan Winning (97) Mak Wilson (00 to Harlequins) and Euan McLaren (99) all seemed to be very promising and then not got pro deals in Scotland.
    It is these kind of players we seem to be failing. Why?

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  2. I’m sick of this. Reckon I’ll just kick my Murrayfield debenture into the long grass, give up my Edinburgh season ticket and just go watch my local club. Simpler, cheaper and more honest, more fun.

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  3. Delighted with this signing purely from the individual ability of the guy and not taking into account the homegrown vs overseas debate.

    And hey 5 years from now we will have a prop in his prime ready to represent the thistle. Schoeman, Bhatti and Sutherland will be in there twilight years by that point so this is excellent news.

    Until the bridge is gapped by players coming through the super 6, we have to compromise by bringing in good overseas talent if we want to stay top 10 in the world.

    Let the pros do their jobs.

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    • Just announced. The new mission statement fir Scottish Rugby

      Scottish Rugby is the governing body for rugby union in Scotland. We work hard to grow the game and inspire Scotland through rugby by bringing South African players who aren’t good enough to be picked for their home country over to Scotland where they will take up a place in our pro team set up blocking a route for home grown players. In time, this player may make it to the international team creating the same blockage problem.

      Needs a bit of wordsmithing but think I’m onto something.

      More seriously, this is precisely the route Scottish football went down in the late 80s when foreign players were brought in as they were cheaper than developing your own and somehow were perceived to be better players. You can track the decline of the National side from that time.

      The question is why has player development went so disastrously wrong? Seems quite an over reaction that S6 has been mothballed and we need to rush to SA to fill gaps in our player roster.

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  4. This is getting bizarre.

    Scottish Rugby finances are that bad that they require £20m of support from the Scottish Government. However in a parallel universe we are signing players from South Africa.

    Someone will need to explain this to me as I can’t make head nor tail of this.

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    • In terms of the SRU signing players whilst getting a handout, I tend to think of it a little like a factory buying some new machinery to help it to continue to trade. Seems a little odd or counter-intuitive, but it will need to be done.

      As for whether it should go to a Scottish player over a foreigner, I’ll leave that for another day. The boy Venter is good, though.

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    • can you tell me which union has not had or is not begging for Government help?

      The show goes on, signing another Bok prop another matter. Especially when he replaces a pissed off Bhatti, and Edinburgh have an excellent prop not getting game time (McCallum) mainly because Cockerill have mucked him about between loose head and tight head to fill in for his SA players. I’ve no big problem with who they sign, I have a major problem with a coach who is mismanaging proven ability

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  5. Guessing the idea of using Super 6 as a development platform for young Scottish talent hasn’t exactly worked out as planned.

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    • Sorry, I must have missed when Super 6 took place. I was under the impression that it, like all rugby, was under lockdown. Perhaps best to give it a chance of happening

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      • I’m sure if Murrayfield had thought Super 6 was working as expected, they would have made the effort to get the project up and running during lockdown. Afterall, in football, not only are Lowland & Highland leagues playing a full campaign, so too are Level 6 within the pyramid; East of Scotland, South of Scotland, West of Scotland leagues etc.

        Murrayfield have that much faith in the project, they appear to have taken the opportunity to save the cash by furloughing the players and eliminated the need for investment in franchise holders.

        Interesting question, is Super 6 a lower level of sport than Junior football in Scotland?

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