London - English club London Irish late last week announced
that Brendan Venter is returning to the club to take up the new position of
Technical Director with immediate effect.
Venter, who ranks among the most experienced and respected
coaching experts in the game, renews an association with the Exiles that began
in 1998 when he first signed as a centre.
Making 84 appearances during two spells with the club,
Venter played a key role with Conor O’Shea in leading Irish to their first and
only national trophy, the Powergen Cup in 2002.
A member of South Africa’s World Cup-winning squad in 1995,
Venter subsequently joined Saracens where he played a prominent part in laying
the foundations for the club’s current success before returning to his medical
practice and other rugby commitments.
He returns to London Irish to prepare the squad for the
Greene King IPA Championship where they will be doing their utmost to ensure
that the Exiles return to the Aviva Premiership at the first opportunity.
Among Venter’s first actions is to appoint Nick Kennedy as
Director of Rugby and Clark Laidlaw as assistant coach, while George Skivington
and Academy coaches Declan Danaher and Paul Hodgson will assist with coaching
the senior squad. Danaher will oversee defence, Hodgson will focus on skills
and Skivington will work with the forwards.
Announcing Brendan Venter’s appointment, London Irish Chief
Executive, Bob Casey, told the club’s official website: “Not only is Brendan
respected throughout the game for his expertise and experience, he has also
been a steadfast friend of this club. We’re delighted that he has accepted our
invitation to return to lead us through what we know will be a testing season
in the Championship.
“It is very encouraging that we’ve retained the talented
Clark Laidlaw as an Assistant Coach and are delighted that Declan Danaher, Paul
Hodgson and George Skivington will help with the coaching of the senior team.
“Declan, Paul and Nick have transformed the Academy since
they took over in 2014 bringing a wealth of playing experience and coaching
expertise, as well as an intimate appreciation of the club and its heritage, to
the young players in their charge. I’m sure they will be a valuable addition to
Brendan’s coaching team.”
Commenting on his appointment, Venter said: “The main reason
why I decided on London Irish is because I have so many good memories and
friends still at the club which made for me a sound and easy decision to be
part of the club going forward. The club has genuine ambition to compete in the
Premiership and in Europe and has the foundations in place to enable it to do
so. I’m looking forward to working with the players, coaches, Board and
management to realise the club’s ambitions."
Director of Rugby, Nick Kennedy, commented: “London Irish prides
itself on its Academy which saw great success last season, and as a club we
will be making sure that we continue to maintain the highest standards as we
strive to create a pathway for youngsters coming through the system.
“Relevant steps have been made including the appointment of
new staff to the Academy department to ensure the consistency of the Academy
programme. As part of my role as Director of Rugby I will continue to oversee
the Academy programme, enabling me to develop and utilise the young talent that
will ultimately become the future of London Irish.”
The club will confirm their squad ahead of the 2016-17
season on Monday.