Venter takes blame for Sharks woes

    2015-04-16 07:23
    Gary Gold and Brendan Venter (Gallo Images)

    Cape Town - Sharks technical advisor, Brendan Venter, has taken responsibility for the woes the Durbanites are currently experiencing.

    After winning only four out of nine games, the Sharks are currently second from bottom in the South African conference, and sit ninth on the overall standings.

    Their discipline have also let them down, with three players - captain Bismarck du Plessis, utility back Frans Steyn and loose forward Jean Deysel - currently serving bans for foul play.

    But a big problem for the Sharks this year has been their defence, with the Durban franchise already conceding more tries than they did during the entire 2014 season under Jake White.

    Venter, who took charge of the team in off-season before new Director of Gary Gold completed his commitments in Japan, has taken the blame for what has transpired thus far in 2015.

    Venter discussed the Sharks’ problems via a column on the website.

    He wrote: “In my view, the core problem, never previously addressed, is that the Sharks defence is just not up to standard. At this stage of the season, the Sharks have conceded more tries - 22 - than they conceded in the whole of last year’s Super Rugby campaign. Under Jake White in 2014, the Sharks played a horrible brand of rugby to watch but defended unbelievably well.

    “Owing to the fact I oversaw the 2015 pre-season, I should have had the experience as a 45-year-old coach to know that success starts with a sound defence and everything develops from that foundation. I assumed the players would have experience in the bank as far as past defensive principles were concerned but I’ve learned that is not how the world works.

    “Never before had I coached a team where defence wasn’t my starting point. For instance, when I ventured to Saracens, we literally left attack and focused relentlessly on defence, set-piece and territory. This time around, the primary focus was on ameliorating our attack, and, as such, I went against every single rugby principle I have ever held. As a consequence, not only have we conceded 224 points, when you look at the way in which the Sharks are defending - the players are making every single error in the book in terms of defence.

    “However, it’s completely impractical to blame the poor players, Gary Gold - who has spent eight weeks with the team - or defence coach Michael Horak who has had limited time to work with the players.

    “I take responsibility for not putting defensive principles in place from the start. I genuinely thought that the defensive legacy left behind by White would survive but I was wrong.”

    In their next assignment, the Sharks host the Bulls at Kings Park this Saturday (17:05 kick-off).

    CLICK HERE to read Venter's full column on

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