There’s a bit of a Mexican standoff in the making as John Plumtree and Peter de Villiers square up over where Ruan Pienaar’s playing future lies.
When Plumtree faced the asembled media contingent after Saturday evening’s game, the majority of the questions were focused on Pienaar – why it was that he was picked as reserve scrumhalf and where Plumtree intended to use him for the remainder of the season. Plumtree was pretty unequivocal in replying that “Ruan’s going to be played at nine”. When pressed further, he elaborated that the decision was aimed towards “getting him to feel good about his game and the game of footie in general”.
The implication is that the notoriouly fragile Pienaar has returned from his Tri-Nations sojourn a broken man – a player unsure of his own worth and doubting his talent and role in the team. It’s a situation he’s been in before, as recently as last year and a stint at scrumhalf, which saw Pienaar crowned as Currie Cup player o the month as well as emerging as the form SA scrummie in the latter half of the competition did wonders for his confidence and gave him a good base from which to further explore his talents, at flyhalf.
Plumtree’s current plan, then, makes good sense, but you can’t discount the fact that the Bok coach does not want Pienaar back at scrumhalf and still sees him very much as a flyhalf option, as reported in the press last week. When Plumtree was asked whether de Villiers had spoken to him about the issue last week, he quipped, “I haven’t spoken to him – he hasn’t called me. We’ve been working and I guess he’s on holiday!”
De Villiers, though, has a point too, although as always, one wishes he could have made it somewhat more clearly to all concerned. Pienaar, despie all the euphoria about Morne Steyn, is still a bloody good flyhalf and did very little wrong in his performances at flyhalf for the Boks. A few kicks that hit the posts here and there changed the course of a season that was shaping up very nicely indeed for the talented pivot. Moving Pienaar to flyhalf is just such a good idea when it comes to his own long-term Bok future, as well as the needs of the Springboks themselves, that it would really be a shame to declare the experiment a failure at this stage.
What do you guys think? Where should Ruan play his rugby?Tweet