Look who is helping the Kings now...

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 21:43
Large brendan venter gestures Large brendan venter with sharks Large brendan venter gestures

Brendan Venter's passion for coaching knows no bounds. His latest stop on a world-wide coaching tour is Port Elizabeth.

Brendan Venter's passion for coaching knows no bounds. His latest stop on a world-wide coaching tour is Port Elizabeth.

Robbie Kempson, the Southern Kings' caretaker coach, revealed to this website that Venter is assisting him with the PE-based outfit.

Venter, who last year helped the Sharks to Currie Cup glory and previously helped Saracens to win the English Premiership, is with the Kings in an 'advisory' capacity.

Kempson, the manager of the Eastern Province Rugby Academy, said coaching the Kings has its "entertaining moments".

However, it is picking the brains of masterful mentors like Venter and former All Black flyhalf Carlos Spencer - the Kings' backline coach - that is of real benefit to him.

Kempson said his job is still working for the South African Rugby Union, as the EP Rugby Academy manager.

"That [the academy] is first and foremost in my mind," he told this website in an interview ahead of the Kings' pre-season warm-up match against the Cheetahs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

There is a lot of support from Spencer, Barend Pieterse, who helps with the line-outs, Siyabonga Mangweni, as the defence coach and then Venter.

"Brendan [Venter] has been assisting me with the process of keeping the team together and making sure we get things on the road," he said.

Kempson said it is "great" just to pick his brain, get his thoughts and processes on things.

"He has a passion for rugby, make no mistake," Kempson said about Venter's willingness to help everybody that asks.

"When he talks, he talks with a passion and gets everything across," the Kings' part-time mentor said, adding: "He has certainly helped the process.

"I have been fortunate to have had Solly [Alan Solomons, now with Edinburgh] as well, to assist and mentor me.

"Certainly Brendan [Venter] has brought something to the table that is very helpful and all of us are grateful for."

Kempson said Spencer's input is just as valuable.

"We have actually played against each other since [our] Under-21 [days], so we know each other very well anyway," he said, when asked about the All Black's role at the Kings.

"He brings a calmness to it.

"All the attacking options I have left open to him and he has brought in a few variations that the players have bought into also.

"The manner in which he translates what he wants on the field - he did it with [Elton] Jantjies at the Lions, now it is all directed at George Whitehead.

"He just gives these lads confidence - he lets them express the exuberance that they have without putting too much pressure on them.

"It is a trait that is sometimes difficult to get across to players, which he does seamlessly.

"It is one of his strengths, which was his strength with the Lions when he was with them for Super Rugby."

By Jan de Koning

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