FNB Maties hooker: My dad is definitely my role model

FNB Varsity Cup

VarsityCup.co.za catches up with exciting FNB Maties hooker André-Hugo Venter at the Future Africa campus inside the Varsity Cup Village.

Not every FNB Varsity Cup player has the luxury of having a Springbok for a dad [André, who played 66 Tests from 1996-2001]. What are the biggest lessons you've learnt from him?
When it comes to my father, I think the most valuable lessons that he has taught me are more based on life in general than rugby specific. In the same breath, I can say that his role in my rugby career is a very present one. The most valuable lesson that my dad taught me is to always give 100%.

Your family was hit with the devastating diagnosis of your dad with transverse myelitis shortly after his rugby retirement, yet he has shown incredible strength and resilience. What can people learn from his perspective on life post-diagnosis?
My dad didn't change at all in my eyes. He's still the same driven and resilient person that he was when playing rugby. I will always look up to him and he's definitely my role model. He always has a smile on his face and never has a negative word to say. Personally, he's a model for never giving up and always staying positive.

Who's had a big influence on your career at FNB Maties?
As players, we are fortunate to have coaches such as Coach Drikus [Hancke], Coach Corné [Uys], Coach Norman [Jordaan] and Coach Marius [Hurter]. They are all former professional players and we've learnt immensely from their collective experience.

Your thoughts on the 2021 FNB Varsity Cup thus far?
I think it's an amazing tournament with an atmosphere like no other! The feeling within the team is special and you're representing a proud university rugby club. It's a humbling experience. 

Playing in a bio-bubble is a new experience for all teams. How have FNB Maties adapted to the challenge?
It's definitely something new, but it won't distract us from our goal. The Varsity Cup bio-bubble has allowed our squad to grow stronger as we are outside our comfort zone.

FNB UCT brought an end to FNB Maties' 25-unbeaten streak, but you bounced back well against FNB UWC.
Yes, the main thing is not to focus on the past but rather on our next challenge. The competition is far from over and we will keep preparing well and improving as it continues.

What did it mean to you to score four tries against FNB UWC on Thursday?
It was obviously very special making my first start in the maroon jersey and scoring four tries is something I will remember forever. But in saying that, three of the tries came from a maul or a collapsed maul so, to be honest, the entire forward pack should be credited for them. I was just one of the many pieces in the puzzle that led to those team tries.

WATCH: André-Hugo Venter – FNB Impact Player

Lastly, what are your rugby goals and in life at large?
I think most young South African rugby players share the same dream, to represent the Springboks and it's the same for me. My immediate goals outside rugby are to complete my degree [BAccounting] and be a positive force in my immediate environment.