Sunday 18 February 2018

'Mischievous' Venter vows to behave as Saracens aim for revenge

SARACENS director of rugby Brendan Venter has promised to behave after a bizarre post-match interview became a YouTube hit and landed him in trouble with the authorities.

The South African, who is standing down in January, kept a straight face in an interview with Sky television when he agreed with and repeated every question after his side's 24-21 Heineken Cup defeat to Racing Metro last Saturday.

Venter said yesterday that he had modelled his behaviour on the soccer-inspired satirical film 'Mike Bassett: England Manager', which had been shown on the Saracens team bus on a trip to Gloucester earlier in the season.

"Everybody's seen it for what it was, which was a joke," Venter said. "It wasn't meant to offend anybody. Maybe a bit of passive resistance in a way."


The former World Cup winner was fined €25,000, €15,000 suspended, by European Rugby Cup for being "inappropriately critical of ERC, the tournament, match officials and the sport of rugby union" following his team's Pool 2 game against Leinster at Wembley in October.

"Look, I agree I've got a mischievous streak in me," Venter added. "But that's because life is a privilege to live. There are a lot more serious things out there than rugby. It is not life and death. I didn't insult anybody and nobody got hurt."

Saracens have lost all three pool matches and would require a miracle to qualify for the knockout stages but they could help Leinster tonight if they can surprise a formidable Racing Metro in Paris.

Coach Mark McCall makes five changes from the team beaten by the Parisians at Vicarage Road last weekend.

Centre Michael Tagicakibau returns, while locks Hayden Smith and Hugh Vyvyan and back rows Kelly Brown and Justin Melck start in the pack.

Racing Metro v Saracens,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

Irish Independent

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