Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter is to step down from his post with the English Premiership side in January and return home to South Africa for “family reasons”.
But the former Springbok will remain connected with the north London club as technical director.
Venter had recently spent some time back in South africa following a death in the family, which may have triggered the decision to move.
The announcement comes on the same day that there has been mass speculation surrounding the Springbok assistant coaches Gary Gold and Dick Muir.
It remains highly unlikely at this stage, but if Bok coach Peter de Villiers were on the lookout for a new assistant, then Venter could be an option.
Mark McCall, a former Ulster and Castres coach, will be promoted from within the Saracens setup to director of rugby.
Andy Farrell, himself a former Saracens midfielder and Test player for both the Great Britain rugby league and England rugby union teams, will inherit McCall’s former position of first team coach.
“Brendan, Anneme and their children are returning to South Africa in January for family reasons and, as a club very much based on family values, we respect their decision and wish them well,” Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Mark and Andy will take over the day-to-day running of the team, but Brendan will remain an integral part of the club, as technical director, making frequent visits to north London.
“We would like to thank Brendan for his outstanding contribution through the past two seasons, establishing a culture of honesty, discipline and work ethic that is now enshrined within the DNA of our club, and we look forward to his continuing involvement in the months and years to come.”
Venter guided Saracens to last season’s English Premiership final but his time in charge saw him involved in repeated trouble with rugby authorities.
Earlier this month he was fined 25,000 euros (R234,630), of which 15,000 euros was suspended, for criticising the standard of refereeing following Saracens’ European Cup defeat by Leinster.
Venter was furious that French referee Christophe Berdos failed to sin-bin three players from Irish province Leinster during the second half, when a rash of penalties prevented his team gaining momentum.
“There is a real danger that if we don’t take action going into a World Cup year, the game of rugby is going to die, be killed stone dead because the public won’t come to watch,” Venter said at the time.
He previously missed Saracens Premiership final loss to Leicester at Twickenham in May after being hit with a touchline ban by English officials following a fracas at the eventual champions’ Welford Road ground a couple of weeks earlier.
And in January, he received a suspended coaching ban and had to apologise to referee David Rose after criticising his handling of a separate Premiership encounter between Leicester and Saracens.
Saracens are currently fifth in the 12-team Premiership.
Article courtesy of Rugby 365.Tweet