Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Venter Finds Cure to Irish Problem

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Venter Finds Cure to Irish Problem

Article excerpt


DR BRENDAN VENTER correctly diagnosed the problem with his London Irish players and while a short-term cure allowed the Exiles to give Toulouse a fright before losing 28-23 in France, there is still crucial work to be done this week.

Venter is committed to returning to his Cape Town GP practice at the end of this season and his fervent desire is to leave knowing the Irish will not suffer from his absence on the pitch.

He returned for the first time this season at Toulouse and made a huge impact right from the first tackle, when he was penalised for going in high.

Another penalty for the same offence in the second half meant Venter had to accept the yellow card was a warning a red could follow if he returned.

Nick Burrows took over in midfield, but the damage had already been done with the Irish conceding ten points in Venter's absence. However, the means by which the South African lifted the gloom surrounding his players has given him hope for the rest of the season.

Irish should have won, but still lack the confidence that backed up their defensive excellence and outstanding fitness last season. We will discover against Edinburgh at Reading on Sunday if this missing element has been added to the equation and if a win is achieved then Venter can start planning his return home without serious worries.

Venter said: "Performance is everything and we came off the pitch knowing it was our best of the season.

"I knew I'd make an impact and I had seen fear in the eyes of the players. I told the guys that life is too short to play with fear and I will continue to play because I enjoy it so much.

"I wanted to bring my passion back into the squad and we worked off each other's energy.

Getting stuck in defensively is something that has been missing - it's what we are all about.

We get in your face.

"We are a team of grafters with a great spirit and we can achieve great things. If we don't have that, then we are just another mediocre team. We have removed a weight off our shoulders leading into the Edinburgh game. It has been so horrible seeing the guys depressed but they are relaxed again. …

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