Apologies in advance if the spelling in this blog post is awful – it is very hard to type while dancing. Holy crap – Brendan Venter! If you’d have have asked me to draw up a list of names for the new role as head honcho at London Irish, he would not have been on it. In the same way that if you’d ask me to list a bunch of places I’d like to gig next year, the O2 arena wouldn’t have been on it. I’m an optimist, I’m also in some way a realist. After this bit of news, I am considering calling the O2 – and buying a lottery ticket. Bath, Harlequins, Worcester – you’ve got to believe they would have all been over-the-moon to get the good doctor.
Brendan Venter isn’t just the best man for the London Irish job, he’s the best man for damn near any job. I don’t just mean rugby, he might be the leader this country needs! His CV is awe-inspiring. His exploits at London Irish in themselves are impressive, but what he did to transform Saracens from English rugby’s great pretenders into a dominant European force is incredible. Yes, he had a budget to work with. Thing is – Saracens always had a budget to work with, money wasn’t ever their problem. What they lacked was steel. Brendan Venter is like Ironman and Wolverine had a baby. Alright that simile needs work and it is frankly an upsetting image but still – Brendan effing Venter!! I’ll be honest, I don’t know how we got him. I don’t care if Big Bob had to take hostages to make it happen, it was totally worth it.
In election terms, this is pretty much my dream ticket. I’ve been banging the drum for the three amigos for so long, I may have deafened some people. I’ve always thought that Dec, Dodge and Kendo had the potential to be fantastic coaches and the success of the academy under them has shown how good they are and further hinted how good they can be. This is the right time, they’re in the right place, they’re the best people for the job. Young hungry coaches with Brendan Venter as their mentor – yes please! Clark Laidlaw was a great appointment 12 months ago and he still is. I’m also personally absolutely delighted that George Skivington is joining the team. He’s a smart cookie, he’s had coaching experience including with Samoa and most importantly of all, he is cut from the same cloth as the above.
We’re going to be a very different team. Over the next couple of years, expect to see that Venter steel mould itself into our DNA. We’ve been everybody’s second favourite team for a while now. Frankly, I’m a bit sick of that. How about we try being everybody’s worse nightmare for a bit?
Almost exactly two months ago I sat in this very seat and wrote a blog post on the day after we’d been relegated. It was a dark day, we all felt it. The uncertainty about the future hanging over the club was frankly worrying. We were heading into new and unhappy territory and anyone with this club in their heart was hurting. At the risk of handing hostages over to fortune – this feels like a bright new dawn. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get where we want to be but I couldn’t pick a better bunch of people to be in charge of it.
In summary – BRENDAN VENTER!!!!!!