Edinburgh must 'stand up after the fall' as Boan Venter warns of South African threat

Boan Venter is confident that Edinburgh’s morale has not suffered unduly despite a run of results that has seen them win only one of their last five matches.

Having said that, however, the prop admitted yesterday that the two forthcoming games in his native South Africa - against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday and then the Lions in Johannesburg seven days later - are “massive” for his team as they try to get back into the top four of the URC.

“I think it’s important for us to just keep focus and try and keep building - keeping the momentum that we’ve had thus far,” Venter said after squad training at the Zimbali resort just north of Durban. “It’s been a rough couple of weeks for us, but the guys are really motivated.

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“We know why we’re here and we’d like to go away with match points. We came here to do a job and we’ll do that to the best of our ability.

Boan Venter in action for Edinburgh during the 1872 Cup defeat to Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium on March 18. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“It’s important for us how we stand up after the fall we had against Glasgow last weekend,” he continued, referring to last Friday’s 30-17 defeat at Scotstoun in the first leg of this season’s 1872 Cup. “So these two games are massive for us. We know how important it is to try to build momentum again in this competition and keep racking up the points.”

One glance at the URC table is enough to demonstrate just how important it is for Edinburgh to make sure they return from South Africa with something to show for their efforts. Having been top of the heap just a few weeks ago, Mike Blair’s team are now down in fifth, and could fall a further place should they lose to the Sharks, who are just three points behind them and with a game in hand.

Blair insisted at the start of this week that a top-four place - which would mean a home quarter-final in the end-of-season play-offs - was still the aim for his team. He also predicted that we would see all the leading contenders take points off each other in the coming weeks, and that it was unlikely that a couple of teams would break clear of the rest.

Edinburgh will certainly need that to happen if they are to stay in touch with the top as they prepare for a demanding end to the regular season. They do have three home games to complete their programme after the South African double-header - against Zebre, Ulster and Glasgow - but only the first of those three could be classified as a probable win rather than a merely possible one.

It is all the more important, then, that they get something out of the Sharks match in order to begin this forthcoming block of fixtures on a positive note - although, as a South African himself, Venter knows his team’s next opponents well and expects the Durban-based outfit to be tough opponents in every aspect of the match. “They’re a well-rounded team, so we’ll have to stick to all our guns and be good all over, win all the moments,” the 24-year-old continued.

“I really think they’ll come up physically, as all the South African sides do, so I think it’s going to be a real challenge. But I’ll be excited to front up to that.”

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