SPRINGBOK centre Francois Venter admitted he had to overcome “language barriers” before starring in Worcester Warriors’ midfield this season.

Venter arrived at Sixways last summer after making the move from South Africa-based Super Rugby side Cheetahs where he said he was used to speaking in his mother tongue.

The 27-year-old has forged a strong centre partnership with Ryan Mills and has played in all but one of their 13 Gallagher Premiership games.

But Bloemfontein-born Venter who has also featured in the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Cup revealed it had taken him time to settle into the team.

“A lot was different especially because of the language barriers and the communication on the field. It was not second nature to me,” Venter said.

“Growing up in South Africa everything was in Afrikaans so suddenly I needed to change that.

“I feel I am used to it now and getting that understanding between one another. The only way you get that is by playing with somebody.

“The more we play together as a squad that understanding and the continuity flows.”

Venter has started alongside Mills at centre for 12 of his 16 appearances this season including last Saturday’s 47-33 defeat at Harlequins.

“Ryan is a good leader and organises well,” Venter said.

“He has stepped up when playing at 10 as well so he is a very talented guy.

“Everybody is playing well at centre as Ollie (Lawrence) is doing amazingly. We have got a great side.

“Personally I feel like I have found my feet. The competition for places is tough but I love it.”

Boss Alan Solomons has opted to give his first-team regulars breaks this season with Venter playing in just one of Warriors’ games last month.

“You learn when you are not playing,” Venter said.

“When you step away you can analyse a bit more and learn from each other.

“With game-time you always get better so for the growth of the squad it really helps (giving opportunities to others)."

Venter has moved out to the wing on a couple of occasions this term but he added: “I wouldn’t say I was a wing but I am very comfortable in either 12 or 13.

“I grew up as a 12 and played most of my rugby there. I moved to 13 about four years ago but I can easily slotting into both positions.”

It has been over a year since Venter won the last of his seven caps for South Africa but he has not given up hope of returning to the international stage.

“I have had a bit (of contact with the South Africa coaches) but that’s in the background,” Venter said.

“My focus is on performing for Warriors and then hopefully I will get that call-up.”