Ruan Pienaar left the Sharks this week, heading for Ireland where he has signed a two year contract with Ulster. He will join up with former teammates BJ Botha and Johann Muller.
In an interview with SharksRugby.co.za, Pienaar mentioned that he would love to come back one day and finish his career at the Sharks, much as Stefan Terblanche did after returning from playing for Welsh club Ospreys.
Pienaar stated that his main reason for leaving was that he wanted stability in a position, and looks set to hold down the number nine jersey at his new club, this after being shuffled across many backline positions for the Springboks.
You have to feel for the player who played 4 different positions in 43 tests for his country, of which only 18 were in his preferred position of scrumhalf. That’s less than 50%! He went on to play 12 tests at flyhalf, 10 at fullback and even managed 3 on the wing, this after starting his career and playing most of his provincial rugby at scrumhalf.
At scrumhalf is where he made his debut for the Sharks, and where he made his impact in the 2005 Super 12, where he had huge games against the Brumbies, who still had the legendary George Gregan at scrumhalf, and managed to land a match winning conversion from the sideline against the Crusaders. He had superstar written all over him.
He was quickly given his Springbok debut in the 2006 Tri Nations, where he played his first game against New Zealand in the scrumhalf position. But soon after, Eddie Jones labeled Pienaar as the next Stephen Larkham, the experimenting started. Sharks coaches were asked to play him at 10 so that he got game time and experience in the pivot position, and this is when the young man’s career started going backwards.
After seasons of shuffling and benching for the Springboks, and not being able to show his worth in the number 9 jersey, the player had enough and has decided to make a very difficult move to Ireland. One gets the feeling that he would much rather stay and play for the Black and White, but that options just does not seem viable for a player who would like to play scrumhalf, and only scrumhalf.
The first we think when a player moves to the U.K is that they are lining their pockets and making a quick pound, but in this case I think the motivation behind it all is much less greedy. I would go as far as to say that, had it not been for the Springbok selectors and their selection policies, this man would still be a contracted player for the Black and White.Tweet