Venter set to learn his fate
May 26, 2010
Sarries boss Brendan Venter talks to the press ahead of this weekend's Guinness Premiership Final © Getty Images
Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter is set to discover whether he will be allowed to coach his side at this Saturday's Guinness Premiership Final showdown with Leicester.
Venter was handed a 14-week ban earlier this month for making provocative or inappropriate gestures towards spectators during Saracens' clash with Leicester on May 8 and as it stands he will not be permitted to enter Twickenham for the season finale. But he may yet be handed a reprieve at an appeal hearing in London on Wednesday evening.
The club have already devised a contingency plan should the appeal fail with first team coach Mark McCall and forwards chief Paul Gustard assuming control from the dugout.
"I have no fear if I miss the final as we have already run the club as a group of friends and coaches," said Venter. "We're so much on each other's wavelength that it's scary sometimes. The only one who will really suffer from this situation is me, it's not the players or other coaches."
Venter is philosophical over his inability to communicate with the team, though he did not appear to realise he would not be allowed into Twickenham when questioned about it yesterday. His response when informed that was the case suggested more stormy waters may lay ahead should the Rugby Football Union's independent appeal committee find against him.
"I will be sitting by my wife and children if the worst happens," he said. "I'll be at the stadium - I can't imagine they won't let me into the stadium. We'll solve this problem when it comes at the appeal."
Saracens have courted controversy throughout this season with Venter already having received a suspended four-week ban for criticising referee David Rose. They have also been involved in two spats with Northampton, the first over the attempted signing of Tongan prop Soane Tonga'uiha and more recently being criticised for their conduct in victory.
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths, however, insists the club's growing notoriety is undeserved. "We regret the perception that we're doing things deliberately because it runs contrary to the values of our club," he said. "We don't seek confrontation with anybody but if something appears to be wrong we are within our rights to say so. If we have gained any notoriety then it's not deserved. We're as enthusiastic for the values of English rugby as anyone."
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin