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England qualified South African centre Jordan Venter to make Bath debut

By Ian Cameron
Edinburgh's Jordan Venter is tackled during a friendly match between Edinburgh Rugby and Newcastle Falcons at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium, on September 11, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Bruce White/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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England qualified South African born centre Jordan Venter is to set to make his debut for Bath this weekend against Bristol Bears in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

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Venter joined from Edinburgh on December 21 and earned minutes in the Championship with Ampthill last weekend.

He is English-qualified through his grandparents. Venter was a highly rated South African schoolboy player with Paul Roos Gymnasium who was originally brought to Scotland at 18 as a potential project player.

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He effectively turned his back on that Scottish qualification through residency in December, when he signed for Bath after a relatively limited amount of playing time at Edinburgh.

“I have massive goals to play international rugby and if it is with Scotland and that opportunity comes, then so be it,” Venter told RugbyPass in 2020. “As a South African boy, I feel like Scotland maybe lacks a bit of competition. Scottish Rugby are trying to build that up by getting in younger players. There will be maybe six other centres and guys in the semi-pro Super6 on my tail that want my spot and that competition is really healthy.

“The first instinct of the supporters will be oh, some guy has just taken a home-grown player’s place. People aren’t going to like it. If I was a young lad and some guy has came from overseas and took away my position I’d be like, woah, why can’t that be me? What can I do to get there? What has he done that I haven’t? I do feel bad, but at the end of the day, it’s a career, it’s a job, and I’ve worked my ass off to get there.”

Homegrown back row Mackenzie Graham will also make his debut. Graham is a Beechen Cliff School graduate who has been in the Bath pathway system since the age of 13.

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He is in a back row alongside fellow Senior Academy forward Nahum Mergian and Richard de Carpentier.

BATH TEAM: 15 Darren Atkins, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jordan Venter, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 10 Orlando Bailey ©, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 4 Will Spencer, 5 Josh Dingley, 6 Mackenzie Graham, 7 Richard de Carpentier, 8 Nahum Merigan

REPLACEMENTS: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Valery Morozov, 20 Harry Casson, 21 Ollie Fox, 22 George Worboys, 23 Will Butt

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