A Rugby World Cup winner, a licensed doctor, and maybe not the best interview, Brendan Venter was born on this day in rugby history in 1969. The center earned 17 caps for the South Africa Springboks between 1994 and 1999.
He came on as a substitute in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final where the host nation surprised Australia 15-12 to hoist the Webb Ellis Trophy.
The draw to the rugby pitch and medicine always pulled the player in different directions. His rugby talent allowed him the opportunity to go to school as his family was not wealthy but at times forced him to take a step back from the game.
"I had a real reality check. I had to decide if I really wanted to be a rugby player or a doctor. So when I went back in my second year there was a complete change in attitude, and rugby took second place.”
He ultimately was able to find a balance between medicine and rugby.
After joining London Irish as a player in 1997, he left in 1999 to return to South Africa only to return in 2001 as player/coach. He joined the Saracens as Director of Rugby in 2009 and had a successful yet controversial 16 months in that position.
The time was highlighted with his post match interview following Saracens defeat to Racing Metro 92 in the Heineken Cup. Venter had been charged with comments ‘inappropriately critical of ERC’ including some at the level of refereeing and Venter made his subtle jab back at the ERC with his unique post match.
The jab worked as the ERC said in a statement from ERC officials: 'ERC has asked Saracens to confirm that Mr Venter will not adopt the same approach, or one in any way similar, when giving media interviews before or after Friday's Heineken Cup game.”
"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," Chairman Nigel Wray said of Vener’s time at the club.
1949 – David Topliss, rugby league player
1966 – Martin Offiah, former rugby league footballer
1969 – Brendan Venter, South African rugby union player