Venter to create a ‘special’ environment for Sharks

New Sharks Director of Rugby Brendan Venter says that he plans to work in the background at the Rugby Union and create a new environment in the Sharks camp where players can thrive.

Venter says that he will be working in the background as a mentor to new head coach Brad McLeod-Henderson and his assistant Sean Everitt, and as an adviser to Smit.

The former Springbok will link up with the Sharks for the first time on Sunday for a training camp that will mark the beginning of their Currie Cup build up.

“My role is not going to be a high-profile one at all, it will be John and Brad who will be the face of the Sharks going forward and they are the guys who will be doing the media interviews and be in the spotlight,” Venter told SuperSport in his first interview since accepting his new position.

“There are two reasons why that will be the case. The first one relates to my personal reticence to give media interviews. I know that 95% of the mainstream rugby writers are ethical people, but there are a few who spoil it and I have been burned in the past.”

“It’s not so much that as a coach you get misquoted, but rather that quotes often get used selectively.”

“The second reason I won’t be doing many interviews relates to my objective at the Sharks. While I intend to be very hands-on as a coach during the coming Currie Cup season, and will be extremely busy helping devise tactics and operating as a sounding board, I want Brad as the head coach to develop into that role.”

“I am going to be playing a background role helping bring the coaches through and trying to ensure that the right culture is created to enable the team to thrive.”

Venter said that during his time with Saracens in England he got to know newly appointed Sharks CEO John Smit and when he was offered the Sharks job it was impossible to turn it down as he sees the former Bok captain as a leader who breeds success and inspires people around him.

“When I spent time with John I saw so many parallels between him and Morne du Plessis and Francois Pienaar in the way he lives his life. “

“I know it is an old cliche, but it is nonetheless true that if you surround yourself with good people, the rest will follow. All three of them have personalities and abilities that make them incredibly successful not just at rugby, but at life itself.”

Venter, who is also a medical doctor in Strand outside Cape Town, says that he wants to be seen as a succesful coach but he does not define his success on the number of wins or losses.

“I consider myself to be someone that tries to be a good husband and father, and a good doctor. I would like to be successful as a coach but I don’t define myself by my achievements as a rugby player or coach,” he said.

Venter wants to create an environment where players can develop as people and live successful lives away from rugby.

“I probably have a different approach to many when it comes to rugby coaching. For me it is all about creating a good environment. Creating an environment that people can express themselves in and perform in is essential. Rugby is essentially a game and while we try and win every time we play, everything has to be put in perspective.

“There is never an instance in rugby where a coach should allow himself to sacrifice his integrity in order to win a game. I apply that same philosophy to the team. We will try incredibly hard, but as Dr Danie Craven once said, the way we live will be the way we play, and with that the way we play will end up being the way we live.

“My vision for the Sharks is that apart from playing rugby we will develop our off-field skills and live successful lives. The bottom line for me, and this is why I compared John Smit to Morne du Plessis and Francois Pienaar, is that if you have integrity you tend to be more successful.”

John Smit wants to create a similar atmosphere in Durban to the one that drove the Sh

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