Brendan Venter believes London Irish can make top-flight return

Brendan Venter
Brendan Venter will split his time between South Africa and England as London Irish technical director

New London Irish technical director Brendan Venter says the club "will have to crawl before it starts running" as it plots a return to the Premiership.

Venter, 46, returned to the Exiles coaching set-up on Friday to work with new director of rugby Nick Kennedy.

"We're going to be really humble about being in the Championship and we will work really hard," he told BBC Sport.

Irish dropped out of English rugby's top flight for the first time since 1994 last season.

Venter will continue to practise as a medical doctor in his native South Africa while working for London Irish.

The former Springboks centre and London Irish player-coach takes on a role similar to the one he performed at Saracens from early 2011.

"I'll come over to the club once a month to work with the coaches and to help with the planning," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"I won't be hands-on from day-to-day. I've spent some time with the players already and the reality is we need to crawl before we start running.

"That's maybe been our problem all along. We'll be very well prepared, we won't talk about coming straight back up, we'll take it game by game."

Venter, who helped lay the foundations for Saracens' current success as director of rugby between July 2009 and January 2011, believes Irish can set their ambitions equally as high.

"The players are good enough to compete in the Championship and actually compete in the top four of the Premiership," he added.

"London Irish don't have ambitions to stay bottom dwellers all the time."

Meanwhile, Irish have confirmed their squad for the forthcoming season with fly-half Chris Noakes, back row Rob McCusker and prop Leo Halavatau all released at the end of their contracts.

Top Stories