Ruan Pienaar’s departure date has been confirmed.
Springbok scrum-half Ruan Pienaar will officially join Ulster at the start of September after a release date from his contract with Natal Sharks was agreed.
BBC Sport reports that World Cup winner Pienaar is currently part of the South Africa squad taking part in the Tri-Nations tournament.
While his Ulster contract will begin on 1 September, he will be available for South Africa if named in the 22 for the test against Australia on 4 September.
Pienaar is therefore likely to miss the Magners League opener against Ospreys.
The 26-year-old, who has agreed a two-year contract with the Irish province, is one of the most highly regarded half-backs in world rugby and can play at either scrum-half or fly-half.
Pienaar made his debut for South Africa in the 2006 Tri-Nations and was a member of the successful 2007 World Cup squad.
He will join fellow Springboks Johann Muller and BJ Botha at Ravenhill next season.
Pienaar’s arrival from the Sharks will fill the void left at number nine by the departure of Isaac Boss to Irish provincial rivals Leinster.
Ulster Rugby Operations Director David Humphreys said he was “delighted to have concluded negotiations around Ruan’s move to Ulster”.
“I would like to thank the Natal Sharks for their help in the matter and for agreeing to Ruan’s early release from his Sharks contract.
“He is without doubt one of the biggest signings made in Ulster Rugby’s history and I’m confident that he will be a key asset to us,” he added.
Pienaar said he was “very excited about the change”.
“I have been thinking about going to the Northern Hemisphere for a couple of seasons now and when the opportunity to join Ulster came up I was very interested.”Tweet