Brendan Venter’s philosophy: ‘People have immense potential’

2013-10-05 00:00

BRENDAN Venter, the Sharks’ director of rugby, has kept a low profile since arriving in Durban, but he is hoping to leave a lasting legacy at King’s Park.

Venter, who is also a technical director at the successful London club Saracens and runs a medical practice in Somerset West, is enthusiastic about the state of rugby at the Sharks.

Venter, suspicious of the media, said at the start of the Currie Cup season that he would not be the public face of Sharks rugby and coaches Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt have together filled that role.

But yesterday, Venter spoke to Sharks’ website editor Michael Marnewick on his coaching philosophy and the desire to nurture the talent of rugby players at King’s Park.

“Losing 12 players to injury and the Springboks meant we had to use the Currie Cup tournament to develop our youngsters and create culture where the youngsters understand what is required of them if they want to play professional rugby,” he said.

He also has a deeply-rooted desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

“I feel that people have immense potential and, if you back them and explain what is expected of them, people will live up to that potential. That’s my coaching philosophy.”

He has been impressed with the quality of players at the Sharks.

“The Sharks are a really good team. They have good individuals and it’s a pleasure working with them. They have very good juniors as well, and I believe the Sharks team can potentially kick on and become very good.”

He said that CEO John Smit had wanted him to create the same atmosphere at the Sharks that he had at Saracens.

“We call it a ‘principle-driven environment’. We run it by principles and if we all adhere to those principles, we will be successful. If we get good people, and treat them very well, they will be successful for us.

“The main thing for me, my biggest objective, is to leave the Sharks better than when I first arrived. So that when I go away, I’ve added enough value, so that we can all look back and say: ‘That was a good time in our lives. We learnt certain things, we did certain things and we explored our own abilities as human beings’.

“I am not really trophy-driven. I’m more performance- and individual-driven. I want people to become as good as they can be.

“Yes, we will be judged by people on the outside in terms of trophies, but that is not how I judge myself and my players. I have various, quite rigid and difficult measurements and standards that I want the players to live up to. I can measure them and if they deliver those things, but if we get beaten on the day, then the opposition was just better than us.

“But those things are closely linked to our values as a team.”

Venter says he has taken to Durban.

“I love it here. I must admit, I’m very impressed with Durban. It’s a wonderful place with great people. The Sharks have a great environment and, potentially, it could go really, really well here. It’s the little things like the quality of the people at the union, the friendliness and the goodness — it’s a good place.”

Venter says that the Sharks can take advantage of the fact that recruiting players will never be difficult, “because Durban is an unbelievable place”.

“There are few places in the world nicer to spend your time than in Durban.”

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