Brendan Venter insists the Aviva Premiership is stronger than ever as London Irish get set to make their eagerly anticipated return to the top-flight following a year’s absence.

Technical Director Venter, 48, says the Premiership has made huge strides in recent years and underlines the need for his players to be prepared in order to take on English rugby’s elite.

“The Premiership has improved significantly over the last four or five years and there are some good teams,” the former Springbok World Cup-winner told LITV.

“When the fixtures came out last week people said it was a hard schedule, but all the games are hard and there are no easy games these days.

“However, we’re relishing the challenge.”

Venter joined Irish in his current role just over a year ago, with Nick Kennedy also installed as the club’s Director of Rugby on 1 July 2016.

A year in to ‘the project,’ Venter is full of praise for Kennedy’s work, saying: “Nick and his coaches have created a great environment and we have some great plans going forward, but that’s what makes it fun and it’s a proper challenge being involved in the Premiership. 

“The boys have been brilliant so far this pre-season and we know exactly what we need to do. It’s clear to see the improvement of our attack in the space of the last two years through the work of Clark Laidlaw and now Paul Hodgson.”

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