Venter given suspended ban

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The Independent Online

Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter has been found guilty of "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union" for comments he made about Guinness Premiership referee David Rose.

Venter last night faced the charges in front of a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel and was today handed a four-week ban from matchday coaching, suspended until December 31, 2010.

He was alleged to have questioned the integrity of Rose in comments he made following Saracens' 22-15 Premiership defeat to Leicester at Vicarage Road on January 2.

The former South Africa centre will also have to make a public apology to Rose and pay costs of £250.

The RFU decision read: "Brendan Venter was found guilty of an amended charge in relation to his post-match comments on January 2, 2010 after Saracens had lost against Leicester Tigers.

"He was guilty of conduct which was prejudicial to the interests of the Union in that he, whilst taking part in a BBC interview, implied criticism of the match referee by stating that he believed the referee had been influenced at half-time without any further explanation so that a listener might conclude the influence had been improper."