Venter warned by ERC after interview stunt
December 15, 2010
Brendan Venter's 'yes-man' interview has become an internet hit © Getty Images
Brendan Venter has escaped with a warning from the European Rugby Cup officials for his now infamous post-match interview that confounded the rugby world.
Saracens director of rugby Venter has revealed his bizarre interview following his side's 24-21 Heineken Cup loss to Racing Metro was inspired by a scene in the football mockumentary film Mike Bassett: England Manager.
His comical routine involved repeating and agreeing with any question asked of him, whether negative, positive or non-commital. It has been interpreted as Venter's protest against a 25,000 euros fine imposed by ERC for being "inappropriately critical of ERC, the tournament, match officials and the sport of rugby union" following his team's Pool Two game against Leinster at Wembley in October.
The interview has become an internet hit but ERC have taken a dim view, issuing a statement revealing they have sought reassurances from Saracens that there will be no repeat.
The statement read: "ERC would like to point out that it expects key representatives of clubs participating in its tournaments to engage with the media in a co-operative and respectful manner. It is therefore disappointed by Mr Venter's approach throughout the interview.
"ERC has asked Saracens to confirm that Mr Venter will not adopt the same approach, or one in anyway similar, when giving media interviews before or after Friday's Heineken Cup Pool 3 game between Racing Metro 92 and Saracens."
Venter, who will leave his post at Saracens next month, incurred ERC's wrath for his comments to the media following the defeat by Leinster, with 15,000 euros of his fine suspended after he was found guilty of misconduct at a subsequent disciplinary hearing.
The suspended portion of Venter's fine runs until June 30, 2012, and would be payable only if he is found guilty of further acts of misconduct arising from ERC tournaments before that date.
Venter has been involved in a string of high-profile disputes with the rugby authorities and it has been suggested they contributed to his decision to return home to South Africa next month.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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