The ‘winning mentality’ that South African players have is what will turn English Premiership club Saracens around.
Rugby 365 reports that this is the view of new Saracens Director of Rugby Brendan Venter, who has broken his silence over the row that has erupted over his decision to try and lure a host of frontline players from his native country to England.
While he denied the “poaching” claims levelled against him, Venter admitted that he wants to “create a rugby home for South Africans” at Sarries.
Venter told the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag that he didn’t want to get into a mudfight over players in the media.
The former Springbok centre was accused of poaching players, after it was reported that he was to release up to 15 English and other players from the club and replace them with South Africans.
“I only took the work, as Director of Rugby, because I see it as a challenge to create a team that will be supported by South Africans abroad,” Venter told the newspaper.
“There is so much young South African rugby talent in England at the moment and I believe we can create a team which they can identify with and I hope to make Saracens that team,” Venter told Sondag.
Venter wouldn’t elaborate about Saracens problems, but said the team needs a winning mentality right now.
“To do well you need a winning mentality and I think South Africans have that mentality,” Venter said, adding: “It wont be right for me to say what is wrong at Saracens. They are currently eighth in the league and have no trophies in their cabinet. I first want to get there and make my own decisions on which way to go.”
Venter also ruled out any South Africans getting preferential treatment at the club.
“Each player will be chosen on his talents and not because he is a South African,” Venter added.
According to the newspaper, Springboks Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Schalk Brits have been approached.
De Villiers and Burger turned down the advances.
Other players to have been approached include Lions hooker Ethienne Reynecke and lock Anton van Zyl as well as Lions captain Ernst Joubert.
Sharks player Frik Venter has apparently already accepted an offer to turn out for the club.Tweet