I know that reacting to a story reported on Keo is never a good idea, since they tend to be somewhat economical with the facts at times. That said, something I read there this morning really got my back up and I need to have a little rant.
Apparently, Ruan Pienaar’s agent (why is it always the agents?) has told Keo that Pienaar will leave the Sharks if he isn’t picked as first-choice scrumhalf going forward. Hilton Houghton, not a name I’ve heard before, alleges that Pienaar has had yet another “f*ck you” clause written into his Sharks contract, similar to the one Bismarck du Plessis was rumoured to have. In du Plessis’s case, that turned out to be just so much agent hot air, of course. In this case, The Sharks were apparently dumb enough to include a clause that will allow Pienaar to leave should he no longer be in the Bok frame. Notwithstanding the fact that he still has two years on his no doubt highly lucrative contract, This Houghton fellow reckons that Pienaar has issued a clear ultimatum to the Sharks: “pick me as your no 1 scrummie or I’m packing my bags for Europe.”
Now, assuming this is all true, which I don’t really believe for a second, I have a number of serious issues, not the least of which would be the Sharks including such a ridiculous clause in a player’s contract. Rudolf Straueli, bless him, has already denied that such a clause exists, while Mr Houghton insist that it clearly does and Oom Rudi knows all about it. Once again, a silly game of “he said, she said” between Straueli and an agent. Deciding which one to trust is like having to choose which of Cinderella’s ugly step sisters you’d like to date, but anyway.
Now according to the story, Pienaar and his entourage (including legendary trouble-maker, father Gysie) reckon that young Ruan is now fourth in the national pecking order and that it’s the Sharks’ responsibility to get him back to number 1, by ensuring him game time in the number 9 jersey. The suggestion that it should be the responsibility of any team to advance the international aspirations of a single player, ahead of the well-being of the team as a whole, frankly boggles the mind. Pienaar is also somewhat delusional if he reckons he’s as far down as fourth in the reckoning, unless he’s including Rory Kockott in third spot, which is kind of where all the trouble started anyway.
Here’s the rub – Rory Kockott is a better scrumhalf than Pienaar and the Sharks know it. If Ruan is so determined to be the best scrumhalf in the country, he needs to first win his place back in the provincial side, by actually playing well, as opposed to issuing childish ultimatums via his agent in the press. As far as I’m concerned, this “play the game my way or I’ll leave” approach should be firmly, unequivocally and uniformly met by the same response; “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!”
I’ve had enough of these Bloemfontein prima donnas. I’d far rather have players who have the heart and work ethic of a Kockott or a Barritt, than the temperamental genius of a Pienaar or a Steyn.
Note: I fully expect a statement from the player, his agent, the Sharks, Father Christmas, or all of the above, to be made in due course, panning the report on Keo as a complete fabrication. Should that be the case, I reserve the right to withdraw some of what I said above. I’ll let you know which parts, when applicable!
Further Note: We have heard, via a respected Durban journalist, that Pienaar himself has nothing whatsoever to do with any ultimatums and that this story is essentially a fabrication dreamed up by Houghton in combination with the guys from Keo. Sorry, Ruan – all the best.