| 4.2°C Dublin

Venter's venting a classic example of sour grapes

Pat Crerand, of glorious and immortal memory, who still describes it as it is, has no doubt about the Wayne Rooney saga.

It's all about money, he says. And the primary stars in the drama are not Rooney and Alex Ferguson, but the agent who is applying the torch to the Halloween bonfire.

The agent is called Paul Stretford and he is not happy that Wayne, on a piffling £100,000 a week, was offered a wage increase to a mere £150,000 for his, er, efforts and if you believe the rumours, has demanded £250,000 a week from Manchester United for his client.

This means that Rooney's current annual salary of £5.2m would increase to £13m.

As Rooney's 'Mr 10pc', Stretford stands to make millions from his star client's pay rise. Not bad, without a kick of a ball, is it?

And if you have any doubts about those figures, why not consult one of those RTE pundits, the economic experts from the university across the road, who know all about everything except, of course, financial recessions.

And since we are talking about money in sport, we must take a step backwards to Wembley where Saracens, replete with the wherewithal that makes Stretford look like a down-and-out, discovered to their great ire that money isn't everything -- an interesting lesson of biblical proportions administered by the comparatively poor relations, Leinster.

Saracens have amassed almost a full team of South Africans in a bid to take over in English rugby. This morning, in the post, there was a missive from my local pizza parlour offering "amazing value", but I reckon I won't bother them with an order.

Nigel Wray, the multi-millionaire who owns part of Saracens, has sold £26m worth of shares in Domino's pizza this year. The club's majority shareholder is South African billionaire Johann Rupert, an enthusiastic apostle of the bid to South African-ise the club.

And the head coach is another South African, Brendan Venter, a qualified medical doctor whose bedside manner would leave a lot to be desired if it's anything like his pitchside manner.

Venter's rant following the Wembley match was a classic instance of sour grapes -- the referee was wrong, the playing laws are wrong, the game is dying, all according to Venter.

The Venter rant was based on the campaign to dominate with the Tri Nations style of play, a combination of physicality and Sevens rugby, allied to attempted bullying by the International Rugby Board's refereeing assessor, New Zealander Paddy O'Brien.

Strangely, we find the odd English rugby writer swimming against the vast majority by supporting the sub-equator campaign to save their "gates" and TV viewing figures. Because that is all that it is.

No, Dr Venter, South African money pumped into Saracens is not your answer. Rugby has been progressing for over 140 years and has not shown any sign of dying.

Leinster taught you a lesson, didn't they?

Irish Independent