Brendan Venter will be formally charged by the Rugby Football Union today for his lambasting of the referee David Rose after last weekend's Saracens-Leicester match at Vicarage Road
The governing body, acutely sensitive to any breach of discipline following the cheating and drugs scandals at leading Premiership clubs last season, will throw the book at the World Cup winner on two counts: publicly criticising Rose, and questioning his integrity.
Venter, director of rugby at Saracens, reacted so strongly to Rose's performance in the immediate aftermath of Leicester's victory that RFU action was inevitable. The prospect of a lengthy ban from all match-day activity, and a fine, is looming large.
Saracens still top the Premiership table, despite consecutive defeats that ended the club's impressive pre-Christmas run of nine victories and a draw.
However, their nearest challengers, Northampton, are in a far happier state, and the Saints were further buoyed yesterday when their own 'Venter figure', Jim Mallinder, signed a two-year extension to his existing contract, taking him through to 2013.
They also lured Dusty Hare, one of the finest England goalkickers of yesteryear, away from Leicester, where he has been involved as player, coach, talent scout and mentor for decades.
Hare will work on recruitment and player development at Franklin's Gardens.
The Mallinder resigning is a smart piece of business by Northampton. The former Sale coach is regarded as one of the brightest young back-room operators in top-flight rugby and has made a magnificent fist of the director of rugby role since switching clubs two and a half years ago. (© Independent News Service)