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December 11, 2010

Posted on 12/11/2010

Venter talking gibberish

Saracens boss Brendan Venter ended his self-imposed media ban following his side's Heineken Cup defeat at the hands of Racing Metro on Saturday with a bizarre and comical outburst that was clearly aimed at European Rugby Cup officials who handed him a £23,000 fine earlier this season for offering an opinion - a strong one at that - on the standard of refereeing in the competition.

You have to feel for the interviewer Martin Gillingham but maybe he and Sky Sports were in on the joke? I think you'll agree that he was trying to make a point about his earlier treatment by being as banal and non-committal as possible. But was he right to make such a statement - or non-statement? Saracens' chief executive Edward Griffiths commented, "That's what you call an ERC-style interview."

It is a shame that players, coaches or even referees are unable to speak their mind or cannot do so for fear of sanction. The game as a whole is surely more appealing when it is laced with that kind of honesty? That's the sort of opinion fans want to hear and broadcasters would lap it up. Or do we want to encourage the kind of colourless landscape that does football a disservice?

Venter is a real character and it is a shame that he will not grace the English rugby stage with such regularity come the New Year following his decision to step back from his current role and return to South Africa. He insisted family reasons were behind the headline-grabbing move although his treatment from the sport's regulators may well have played a role.

Love him or loathe him, he is always good value and the game in England will be poorer having lost such a passionate figure.



Posted RichWalker on 12/11/2010

Quite clearly as you say it is a deliberate jibe at the ERC for the sanctions he has faced for speaking his mind.

What i do feel though is that there are much better ways of venting your anger and frustration than this. Venter may have been trying to make a point but he has simply succeeded in making himself look like a purile ****, if i was a Sarries fan i would have been squirming watching that. As it is i just laughed, the man's lost the plot!

Posted paady on 12/11/2010

gotta love it, theres no characters like this anymore!

Posted Roy on 12/11/2010

As a Sarries fan and season ticket holder I think this is very funny and makes me like the man even more. Brendan has built something special at Saracens and I so hope he legacy lives on. He will be missed by Saracens and English rugby will be the poorer for him leaving.

Posted Paul on 12/11/2010

As a Sarries fan I'm glad to see the back of him. Whinging about the referee every time you lose is not the way it's done in rugby - it erodes respect for the officials and we can all see from football what damage that does to the game. I hope the authorities continue to stamp down on derogatory comments aimed at refs, wherever they come from. Austin Healey recently criticised the ERBs actions as a restriction of freedom of speech - it's nothing to do with freedom of speech, it's about respect. BV is clearly an intelligent man and should be more than capable of expressing himself in a respectful manner, instead he chooses to behave like a spoilt brat told to tidy his room! Good riddance to the man, I look forward to being able to go to work on a Monday and not have to apologise to supporters of other clubs for my team's lack of sportsmanship.

Posted Dave on 12/12/2010

I for one will not miss Venter in our country. He has bad loser written all over him. I'm a Leicester fan, and I was mightily impressed by Sarries in the last few weeks of last season. Venter clearly has made an impact. By why does he have to behave like a four year old after every defeat?

I'm remember when Tigers beat Sarries at Vicarage road earlier in the season, and he tried to say that we had influenced the referee in the second half because the penalty count stats had reversed. The simple truth was that The Leicester scrum demolished Sarries in the second half and that's where most of the penalties came from! He is no loss and he has no trophies behind him to justify such opinions either. How he can attack Leinster in the first place, with their record of playing lovely attacking rugby, said to me he had slightly lost his marbles.

Posted Terry on 12/13/2010

Not a lot of people may know that brendan Venter is a medical doctor by profession, so I'm sure he is educated enough to deal with an interview. That fact makes his hilarious interview even more amusing.

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Graham Jenkins joined Scrum in 1999 and took over the reins for a second time in 2006. His journalistic career has also seen him work for BBC Sport and IMG and he currently lives with his family in Farnham. Graham Jenkins

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