Boks on Tour

Venter sympathetic to Boks

2009-11-18 16:02
Brendan Venter (Gallo Images)
London - Saracens Director of Rugby Brendan Venter was measured in his assessment of the Springboks’ 24-23 loss to his charges at Wembley on Tuesday night.

He praised the Boks for their improved performance after the dirt-trackers lost 22-17 to Leicester nearly two weeks ago.

“My personal opinion is that the Bok team has not played and trained together enough,” Venter said. “But players such as Wynand Olivier and Jean Deysel are seriously good rugby players.

“I thought Jongi Nokwe was fantastic and Juan de Jongh was very good. Individually they were good but how do you mould a team with hardly any training sessions?

“They are basically like a Barbarian team and it would be a little unfair to criticise them too harshly.

“When they came over I said that it was the right thing because when else can you expose these youngsters to guys like John Smit, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez? When do you blood them if not on a tour like this?

“The experiment hasn’t failed and it’s a pity for them that they haven’t got some results from their point of view because they’re a good coaching staff and they’re good players.”

Venter also defended the Bok scrum, which has been severely criticised and which again went backwards against Saracens.

“Those players are new to each other so it doesn’t matter what we all say, it will take time,” Venter said. “With CJ [van der Linde] going off early they had a loosehead at tighthead and that was a problem.

“Their scrumming performances are not a true reflection of the state of scrumming in SA. South Africans can scrum. I don’t think it will be a problem in the future if you consider how many South African tightheads are running around the world.”

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