Venter pays tribute to victorious Chiefs
October 30, 2010
Ryan Davis turned in a terrific display for Exeter in their shock win at Welford Road © Getty Images
Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter had no complaints after his side slumped to a shock 9-23 defeat at home to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, the South African was full of praise for the visitors and admitted that he was envious of the team spirit the newly-promoted outfit displayed during the game.
"From my point of view, it's amazing what you can achieve with a collective will. They came here with a team of unknowns, got stuck into us and deserved to win.
"When you analyse the game we have created an unbelievable number of chances and had a few little things gone right I think we would have gone on to win.
"Their defence was excellent but the bottom line is they played as a team and today we played as individuals. Yet when I watch the video I think I'll find we were not as bad as I thought.
"Of course I'm disappointed but what do I do - kick a chair, shout, or throw water? No, you have to give credit where it is due."
Alex Goode had a mixed game at fly-half for Saracens but Venter was irked by the suggestion that new signing Gavin Henson's imminent arrival at Vicarage Road cannot come soon enough.
"I think that's a little cruel," he said. "Alex is growing and learning as a rugby player. He's in the pinnacle position and he is learning that, perhaps even sooner as first choice than I would have planned.
"Again we seem to be looking to criticise rather than look at the opposition. Gavin will become available when he finishes on 'Strictly Come Dancing' and when that happens he will face three to four weeks of tough training. It's a long time since he played first class rugby or any rugby and we must bear that in mind."
Meanwhile, Exeter head coach Rob Baxter was understandably elated after watching his side claim their first away win of the season and was particularly pleased that it had come against last season's runners-up.
"We felt we needed to make a breakthrough versus a major team," he said. "We'd done well away from home but repeatedly come up short, so to see the job through is special.
"We're a confident bunch with self-belief. But you also have to work for what you achieve at this level and we had three separate periods when we had to defend for our lives. I was proud of the way the lads retained their focus. We have showed that when you want something badly enough and are prepared to work for it you can succeed.
"I've been asked on radio if I would have settled for a losing bonus point before kick-off. Hand on heart the answer is 'no'. You can't go out looking for losing bonus points before the kick-off because then you start playing like that and you never progress.
"Ryan joined us from Bath and while Gareth Steenson was first choice fly-half he worked hard and waited patiently. He's a sparkly individual and a fine goalkicker and I think he did a tremendous job against very fine opposition."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14