• Venter: Sharks defence my fault

    Sharks technical director Brendan Venter says he is to blame for the team's defensive woes.

    The Sharks have conceded 23 tries in nine matches in 2015, compared to 22 in 16 matches last year when Jake White was coach.

    '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,' wrote Venter in a column for SuperSport.com. '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, [director of rugby] 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.'

    Venter's full column on SuperSport.com

    Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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    Simon Borchardt