Among the many “worst-kept” secrets in SA Rugby, this one was right up there. Brendan Venter has now been confirmed as the defence coach for the Springboks. It’s a post that was left vacant because, we were told by SA Rugby, they were waiting for the finalisation of contractual negotiations. What they were really waiting for was the end of the Six Nations season because Brendan Venter was tied up with Italy as their defence coach. The fact that he had been a vocal participant at the big rugby indaba late last year was a clear indication he had not cashed in his chips with rugby in SA. The rumour mill swirled with news that his Italy contract was the one that stood in the way of any announcements earlier this year. Venter is a great addition to the Springbok camp. He’s hugely experienced as a coach and a manager and he’s played 17 times for the Boks, most notably as a member of the 1995 World Cup-winning squad. Recently he was identified as the architect of Italy’s tactics against England in the Six Nations, which saw the Azzurri disrupt England’s attacks by refusing to commit to the tackle thereby negating the offside rule. It’s a tactic that very nearly saw Italy pull off a famous win – David O’Sullivan.
Former Springbok midfielder Brendan Venter has joined the Springboks in a consulting capacity as their new defence and exits coach, SA Rugby confirmed on Sunday.
The 47-year-old medical doctor is an experienced coach with considerable international experience gained from various coaching and director of rugby stints in South Africa, England and Italy.
Venter, a Rugby World Cup winner with the Springboks in 1995, will join the Springbok coaching staff on Sunday for the second of three preparation camps at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he was delighted that Venter had agreed to join the Bok coaching staff.
“We know each other well since our time together at the Stormers, and we share the same values. He will be responsible for defence and ‘exit’ strategies,” said Coetzee.
“Brendan is passionate about Springbok rugby, and wants to help turn things around. He was part of my plans in 2016 already but, unfortunately, he was not available because of commitments elsewhere.
“We delayed confirming this appointment out of respect for Italy’s Six Nations campaign. The public delay did not interrupt our background planning.”
Brendan Venter to the rescue…
— Johannes Dampies (@DampiesJ) April 2, 2017
Venter, who was born on 29 December 1967, played in 17 Tests and nine tour matches for the Springboks between 1994 and 1999. He was a replacement during South Africa’s historic victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup and also a member of the Boks’ 1999 RWC side.
He also played for the SA Schools team and the Junior Springboks, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the DHL Stormers. He started his relationship with English rugby in 2001 when he joined London Irish for two years and later moved into a player/coach capacity.
A qualified doctor, he opted to return to a full-time a career in medicine in 2003 before returning to rugby coaching with the Cape Town-based DHL Stormers in 2008, where he joined Allister Coetzee on the coaching staff of the Cape Town based franchise.
#Springboks Coetzee says he & newly appointed defensive consultant Brendan Venter share the same philosophies and he will make an impact.
— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) April 3, 2017
In 2009, he joined English Premiership club Saracens, first as a consultant and later as their Director of Rugby, a position he held for 16 months until January 2011, guiding the London side to the 2010 Premiership final.
Venter was also an assistant coach when the Junior Springboks won the World Rugby Under-20 Championship on home soil in 2012. In June 2013, he was appointed the Director of Rugby at the Cell C Sharks, and later that year the Durbanites won the Currie Cup under his guidance.
On 1 July 2016, Venter returned to London Irish as technical director in a new coaching setup and later in the year he also joined the Italian coaching staff as defence coach.