It is with thinly-veiled horror that I read of the supposed plans to use Ruan Pienaar at fullback against the Aussies this weekend. It’s close to the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
Pienaar has endured positional uncertainty of the worst possible kind since making his test debut in 2006. Brought on at fullback against the All Blacks that day, he has shifted around the backline from fullback to wing, to scrumhalf and finally to flyhalf, where he was just starting to look settled. His last six test starts have been in one position and I feel we were finally starting to reap the rewards of picking the player consistently at flyhalf.
Now, just because some oke from the Bulls is a better goalkicker, Pienaar needs to be moved again? It’s bloody rubbish, is what it is, especially when you consider how crap the rest of the Bok backline looks with Morné Steyn at pivot. If you need to accommodate Steyns’s boot in the team, then why not let him play fullback, where he can do the least damage in all-round play and let Pienaar operate in the flyhalf position.
Let’s not forget exactly how bad Pienaar looked when White picked him at fullback in 2007. He was defensively all over the show in that position, making it a real risk to play him there. I understand the desire to want to drop Frans Steyn to “teach him a lesson” but moving Ruan Pienaar to fullback is a move that will backfire on us.
Mark my words.Tweet