Brendan Venter gets cracking with Springboks’ defence

2017-04-14 06:01

THE Springboks are hard at work at a training camp in Stellenbosch that is focused heavily on defence and Brendan Venter is getting involved.

It was announced on Sunday that Venter would join the Boks as a defence and exit specialist in what is a crucial year for coach Allister Coetzee. The Boks lost eight of their 12 Tests in 2016, leading to huge doubt being placed on Coetzee and his position as head coach.

But SA Rugby has backed him, and now Coetzee must plot the way forward, with his first hurdle being three Tests against the French on home soil in June. He now has back-room staff that he has assembled himself, with Mzwandile Stick replaced by Cheetahs coach Franco Smith as backline assistant, while Venter will fill the role of defence coach. It was a position that gave Coetzee and the Boks grey hairs last year, with Jacques Nienaber, Chean Roux and J.P. Ferreira all having shared the load throughout what was a woeful year for South African rugby.

Venter was a defence consultant throughout Italy’s winless 2017 Six Nations campaign, but now his attention is very much on the Boks, despite his role still being fulfilled on a “consultancy” basis.

Coetzee, who was in bright spirits in Stellenbosch yesterday, is pleased to have his man. “We share the same philosophies on the game. He wanted to come on board to work with me,” Coetzee said.

“I think he can add a lot of value. He’s been working overseas for a long time and he’s got really good knowledge of building a defensive structure. I’ve got no doubt that he can make an impact.” The Bok coach assured that Venter’s commitments to his medical practice in Cape Town will not impact on his role with the Boks. “When we’re in camp he will always be there. He’s never going to miss a session,” said Coetzee.

“One shouldn’t forget that he is a medical practitioner but he’s been at every meeting until now and he will be at every training session as well. It’s not a concern to me,” said Coetzee.

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