• Venter: I didn’t share Italy’s joy

    Brendan Venter admits he drew no pleasure from Italy's win over the Boks, despite being part of their management team.

    Venter facilitated SA Rugby's recent coaching indaba before announcing he would join Italy as a short-term defensive consultant during their end-of-year Tests.

    'I felt the same pain as my children and all other South Africans. The people involved with the Bok team remain my friends and I played for South Africa,' Venter told Netwerk24.com.

    On Saturday, Italy put in a solid defensive display to record their first-ever win over South Africa, but while players and management alike celebrated the result on the field, Venter did not join in the celebrations.

    'I told the Italian coaches that I did not experience the same satisfaction I normally do when I achieve something. We won, but many other people suffered,' he added.

    Venter went on to confirm coach Allister Coetzee approached him to join the Springboks on tour, but said the offer came just two weeks before the team's departure, by which time he had finalised his plans to travel to Italy. He also denied allegations that he chose the Azzurri over the Springboks.

    'To insinuate that I have chosen to help Italy over South Africa, is absurd.

    'Conor O'Shea had asked me six months ago if I could help him. It gave me enough time to find a temporary replacement to look after my medical practice. The practice is my first priority.'

    According to Venter, Coetzee knew about Venter's agreement with O'Shea since the indaba.

    'I told Allister from day one that I agreed to help a friend in Italy. You cannot call a friend and say “Sorry, but I've received a better offer”. I am a professional, who plans ahead so that my practice does not suffer,' explained Venter.

    The 46-year-old believes it would be inappropriate for him to receive praise for Italy's victory.

    'The fact that Italy defended well had nothing to do with me. Much like the Lions and Cheetahs, this was an Italian team with no real big names. Where there is success, it is because something is done in a slightly different way.'

    Photo: Gabriele Metinti/Getty Images

    Post by

    Mariette Adams