Cape Town – The Cheetahs have bolstered their scrumhalf
stocks after four No 9s extended their contracts with the franchise.
Shaun Venter, Tian Meyer, Zee Makhabela and Juan-Pierre
Smith have all signed contracts that will keep them in Bloemfontein for the
Venter, 29, joined the Cheetahs for the 2014 season after
the Kings were relegated from Super Rugby. The talented scrumhalf progressed
through the ranks at the Pumas, representing them at Under-19, Under-21,
Vodacom and Currie Cup levels.
In 2009, Venter represented the South African Sevens side in
George and played for the South African Barbarians North during England’s tour
He has 121 provincial games and 50 Super Rugby to his
Meyer, 27 represented Sharks Under-19s (2006-2007) and
Sharks Under-21s (2008-2009) and played his first senior provincial match for
the Pumas in 2010, featuring on 19 occasions and scoring six tries in his debut
He was included in the Lions’ Super Rugby squad for the 2012
season, debuting against the Sharks in Durban and joined the Griquas just
before the start of the 2014 Vodacom Cup.
Meyer wore the No 9 jersey in Griquas’ victory over the
Golden Lions in the 2014 Vodacom Cup final before making his first Super Rugby
appearance for the Cheetahs. He has 61
Super Rugby caps to his credit.
Mkhabela, 21, represented the SA Under-20 squad that
participated at the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand and
played in 11 matches for the Free State U21s.
In 2015, Mkhabela was included in the UFS Shimlas squad for
the 2015 Varsity Cup. He made seven appearances for the Shimlas in the pool
stages but missed out on the playoffs.
After the competition he was named as replacement scrumhalf in a Varsity
Cup Dream Team that played a match against the SA U20s.
Mkhabela played in four Currie Cup matches for the Free
State Cheetahs, making his debut on
August 8, 2015 from the bench against the Blue Bulls.
Smith, 22, matriculated from Queens College and represented
the Blue Bulls Under-19 side in 2013 and the Under-21 side in 2014. He was also selected for the SA Under-20 side
in 2014 and went on to play for the Blue Bulls in the 2015 Vodacom Cup.
The youngster joined Free State in 2016 and has already
played in eight Currie Cup matches for the Free State Cheetahs XV.