CENTRE Francois Venter says he no longer feels “alone” at Sixways after a “tough” start to his Worcester Warriors career.

The South Africa international proved to be one of Warriors’ most consistent performers last season, racking up 24 appearances.

But Venter revealed it took him time to feel comfortable among new surroundings after leaving South African club Cheetahs where he had spent the previous four years.

“In the first season you feel alone,” said the 28-year-old.

“You are still in the process of making friends and learning each other’s ways whereas now I am used to it.

“I have a few mates here and there is a lot more support.

“If you go to any new place it is always tough at the start and then you settle in.

“Mentally I feel a lot better.

“I am used to the structures, the coaching and what we want out there.

“I know what to expect from the Premiership.”

Venter has previously spoken about how he faced “language barriers” following his move to Warriors due to Afrikaans being his mother tongue.

But after getting used to the on-field communication Venter prospered as he produced a series of impressive displays.

“The Premiership is a tough competition so I learned a lot of lessons,” said Venter who has seven Springbok caps to his name.

“As soon as the team started to get momentum I played better as well.

“I think I played my best rugby at the end of the season and once I got used to a few players we got the important wins to stay away from relegation.

“I am enjoying it now. It’s totally different as I am used to everybody and the culture so I am settling in.”

Venter was hoping to pick up from where he left off this term only to suffer a recurring injury that he said took “eight weeks” to identify during Warriors' long pre-season.

“It was an unforeseen injury,” Venter said.

“We didn’t know what was going on with my calf at first so credit to the doctors and everybody who helped me.

“I missed that Saracens game (on the final day of the season) due to my calf. I carried on training but then it just flared up as pre-season went on.

“Every second week I would go back and it felt fine only to find out I had a tear in my tendon.

“It was not a common injury and it just developed over time.

“It was hard to pick up but once we knew what to do we got on it and treated it.

“We took our time and now I am 100 per cent good to go.”

Venter marked his return to action with a try off the bench in the defeat at Northampton Saints.

He then made his first start of the season in the win at Harlequins before producing another strong showing in the loss at Castres.

“I didn’t play in any warm-up games due to my calf so I was grateful to get an opportunity (at Northampton),” Venter added.

“I am feeling better now so the injury is behind me.

“I am looking forward to putting my hand up and hopefully stepping up.”