VENTER’S VERDICT: Experience key at this stage of the season

1 May 2017

London Irish are in a ‘good place’ according to Technical Director Brendan Venter, who has been present for the Championship Play-offs.

Exiles’ icon Venter, 47, returned to the club last summer as part of a management team restructure which saw Nick Kennedy appointed Director of Rugby.

Delighted with the progress of Irish under the watchful eye of Kennedy, Venter said: “Nick has done a tremendous job already this season.

“The club was on a real low when I came in last year and although the players were very demoralised, Nick has done a fantastic job in picking them up.

“We have a confident, healthy squad who are playing well at the moment and this is where we wanted to be at this stage of the campaign.”

With the season climax finally here, Venter says the experience of a number of players will benefit the squad as they target a return to the Premiership.

“The pressure of the play-offs isn’t the elephant in the room, it’s been discussed in the team meetings and we’ve got players in the squad who have played huge matches before.

“The reality is, preparation is your ally and you should only have fear if you’re not well prepared. Our preparation has been superb all season and I’m confident it will pay off in the play-offs.

“Listening to Nick and his coaches this week, I realise how hard they work every day and now the players must go out onto the pitch and do their job. Begging and praying for a result without a proper process is futile,” said the 1995 Springbok World Cup-winning centre.

A firm favourite amongst the Exiles faithful, Venter has got total admiration for what the club stands for.

“It has always been an enjoyable experience to be a part of London Irish and if there’s one responsibility that the team has then it’s to the supporters who have been magnificent this season.

“We must not think about the bigger picture though, we must just think about the next game which is the important one.”

Irish take a 35-3 aggregate lead into this Saturday's Greene King IPA Championship Play-off Semi-final second leg against Doncaster Knights at the Madejski Stadium (kick-off 1.15pm). 

Be the 16th man cheering the players on in the next step back to the Premiership. Tickets for the home Play-off Semi-final against Doncaster Knights on Saturday 6 May at the Madejski Stadium are on sale from www.lidirect.co.uk  or by calling 0118 968 1016 #StrongerTogether.   

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