Glasgow Warriors recruit South African back-row Henco Venter

31-year-old makes the move to Scotstoun from Cell C Sharks

Henco Venter is set to join Glasgow Warriors from Cell C Sharks this summer. Image: Craig Watson
Henco Venter is set to join Glasgow Warriors from Cell C Sharks this summer. Image: Craig Watson

GLASGOW WARRIORS have signed 31-year-old South African Henco Venter from Cell C Sharks on a two-year deal, subject to visa.

The 6ft 4ins back-rower will provide useful depth to the squad, particularly during the early months of next season when Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Jack Dempsey and Scott Cummings are all likely to be either at the World Cup or recovering after the tournament. Sione Vailanu could also find himself in that boat if his form for Warriors earns a Tonga recall while Ryan Wilson is moving on in the summer.

Venter has made 48 appearances to date across all competitions for Sharks, having represented the Durban-based outfit in Super Rugby, Currie Cup and the BKT United Rugby Championship. He can play across the back-row, and previously played for Toyota Cheetahs and Toshiba Brave Lupus, before moving to the Sharks in the summer of 2020.

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“Glasgow has always been a club I’ve enjoyed watching and admired the way they approach their rugby,” said Venter, who is the nephew of 1995 Rugby World Cup winner Ruben Kruger.

“The way the team has played this season in particular under Franco Smith has been so great to see, and seeing the results and how much everyone is enjoying their rugby makes Glasgow a place you want to come and play.

“Franco plays a winning brand of rugby, but he also understands that it’s a brand of rugby that people in the stands need to enjoy coming to see. You can see how he’s blended that this season with the coaches at Glasgow and I can’t wait to get involved.

“I’ve also played with both JP du Preez and Sintu Manjezi so I spoke to them before signing, and they just said how great a place Glasgow is to both live and play. The enthusiasm they spoke about the club and the city just makes me can’t wait to get started.

“I’m happy to do whatever it takes to help the team win – I enjoy being physical in attack and defence, and I love to have the ball in hand. An attacking mindset is always more fun.

“The result against Connacht last weekend showed the character of this team, and that character just makes you really want to fight for your team and be a part of everything.

“I honestly can’t wait to join this club. I want to give back to the club and the supporters in the stand, and I believe this club is capable of doing something special.”

Head coach Smith added: “Henco is not only a top-class rugby player, but also a first-rate person.

“He’s an incredibly hard-working athlete and his ability to cover all three back-row positions will make him an invaluable asset to our squad next season.

“He leads from the front and we believe he will contribute a great deal to our squad as we move forward. We look forward to welcoming him to Scotstoun this summer.”

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About David Barnes 3911 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.


  1. We need to remember that likely a whole first teams worth of players will be off with Scotland for the first half of the season not to mention the few other players that will play for other nations at the world cup.

  2. I think we should always be aware that the actual date of a signing is rarely the same as the date of its announcement. Most incoming contracts for example are and dusted by the end of Jan.
    But academy players futures often much later. It may well be that Warriors were not aware Rudi Brown was to be released when they signed Venter.
    And an exec squad filler ready to go is not the same as a potential, however high.
    And Brown being where he is is entirely down to Edinburgh Rugby, no-one else. Not Glasgow ‘s job to bail them out. I would still sign him though

  3. Frankly I have my doubts that many of the perennial naysayers on here really follow or support either pro side or understand how playing in a good side develops players faster and better, and that means at times non scots. And all That helps Scotland.
    That said Glasgow look to have too many nSQ players: except we don’t know who is leaving yet. Bean for one is a nSQ moving on.

  4. Player development doesn’t work by just signing young players. I would rather see the likes of Rudi Brown getting consistent game time at a smaller club than being a back up at Edinburgh or Glasgow. This is a good signing for squad depth and competition.

    • I agree with some of your points. But this singing as good as he may be. Is a squad filler for his current club, to become one for Glasgow. Also the number of NSQ player for Glasgow is something like 12 now. Surely that’s too much

  5. I remember similar grumblings about the signings of Sione Vialanu or JP du Preez ahead of Scottish youngsters and both have been integral to turning the Warriors around from the shambles of last season.

  6. I thought this was an odd signing too, as I hadn’t factored in the world cup impact. I am fairly relaxed about it. Glasgow have some promising youngsters who have had some opporunities this term, so I imagine Munn, Brown and Ferrie will continue to get chances next year.

    • We just don’t know though, do we. Glasgow may decide to sign more than one back row this summer. Maybe Brown was made an offer but turned it down to try elsewhere. In Rory Darge, Glasgow has shown a willingness to sign good prospects from Edinburgh in the past.

  7. Rudi Brown, exciting prospect , decent U20 campaign then recently and inexplicably released by Edinburgh versus a 31 year old South African recruit for Glasgow Warriors , little wonder young players get disillusioned. I fancy that Mr Milne is positioning himself for a tilt at the SRU trough because his posts have gone from previously relatively balanced insight into those of an SRU propaganda machine.
    Absolute nonsense to suggest bringing in a 31 year old South African player does anything positive for the game in Scotland – another example of a coach simply protecting his position as opposed to growing the game and encouraging home grown talent.
    This signing makes zero sense to me ….

  8. Why not one of the younger academy players that have been released!! ¹because they are not under 20 ,

    Why oh why yet another journey man, Edinburgh about to do the same,

  9. Glasgow needs some wingers, both left and right. Dobie and Horne are not wingers. Lets hope recruitment is underway.

    • Thinking back to George Horne’s 7’s days he wasn’t short of pace then nor now but it’s a reasonable comment.

  10. Why not just keep on Ryan Wilson? Cheaper budget maybe? Or is this guy in very good form for Sharks, i’d have thought Dylan Richardson would of been a better shout.

    Anyway, best of luck to him

    • Sadly it’s been clear for a while that Wilson’s time at this level is over and his body is telling him the same. Richardson is an out and out openside which Warriors don’t need.
      I like them to sign Rudy Brown as well, more depth needed to cover the RWC effect.

  11. Recruiting a 31-year-old South African flanker can never be considered good use of the SRU’s limited resources. Scottish talent first; then Scottish-qualified; then young project players in positions where we are short. After that – no way.

    • First of all given the sterling work by the SRU are our resources that limited!
      I’m sure all involved don’t make these decisions lightly and given the success of Franco Smith do you not think we can trust his judgement. So many of our Scottish players are playing so much better under his management and if by bring in a player of this experience allows more Scottish talent to blossom then he is a wise investment.

      • Quite right. It’s because of the “sterling work” of the SRU that resources are so limited. Not that limited when it comes to paying the salaries of the those at the top table of course!


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