Confidence is the key for Ruan Pienaar

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 5 Nov 2008 at 09:00
Tagged with :

I feel like I’ve finally got to the bottom of the Ruan Pienaar saga, after a thoroughly pleasant, open chat with his agent Hilton Houghton.

Regular readers may recall that I launched a pretty scathing attack on both Ruan and Hilton a few months ago, based on a bunch of rumours and half-truths that appeared on, scum-rag of the rugby blog world. True to form, I went off on a half-cocked rant about loyalty to the Sharks and why I felt Pienaar had none. I’ve since come around and come to realise that I really had this one all wrong.

Ruan Pienaar, as a player, is all about confidence. He thrives on feeling relaxed and happy in a team environment and when he feels he has the backing of his coaches and team mates, he will deliver outstanding performances. At the time that the allegations surfaced on Keo, Ruan had recently been dropped from the Bok squad after a frustrating campaign that had seen him afforded virtually no game time in his preferred position. This followed a disruptive Super 14 campaign in which Pienaar suffered from the Dick Muir rotation program and could no longer be sure of his position as starting scrumhalf for his province.

On returning to the Sharks, Ruan Pienaar was not a happy man and he confided in Houghton, who organised a meeting between the player and his employers. The purpose of this meeting was to request some gametime for Pienaar at scrumhalf to allow him to establish himself back into the team setup, in the position in which he feels most comfortable. John Plumtree agreed and Pienaar’s good form, coupled with a timeous injury to Rory Kockott, saw the former emerge as the form South African scrumhalf in the entire competition.

The key here, says Houghton, was the opportunity for Pienaar to get his confidence back, playing in a position that he knows well and for a coach who he knew would back him. The opportunity to launch out and have a bash at playing flyhalf seems so much more attractive now, since Ruan knows that he isn’t going to be starting again from scratch should the experiment not work. He is on top of his game and his provincial coaches back him to deliver. He is no longer fighting for his place in the team. If the flyhalf experiment doesn’t work, either at national or Super 14 level, Pienaar has been given the assurance that he will still feature prominently in the Sharks’ plans – at scrumhalf.

So – I guess the purpose of this piece is twofold. Firstly, to apologise both to Ruan Pienaar and Hilton Houghton for getting things wrong back in August and for swallowing half-truths and jumping to conclusions. Secondly, I’d like to wish Ruan all the best for the upcoming tour. I’m sure we all want him to do well and succeed at flyhalf at whatever level he plays it. I’m sure we will also gladly accept him back in his regular position, should he not have the desired impact at 10.

Go get ’em, Ru! We’re with you all the way.


  • Yeah man – Ruan is a true Shark and Bok and we wish him all the best with his new challenge. You can do it boy!

    Rob, how about a new poll – I think our friends have an idea what it feels like to be a Sharks supporter right now. 😆

    What will be the impact of playing Ruan and John in new positions against Wales.

    1. They’ll shine on “debut”
    2. No-one will notice.
    3. It will be a disaster.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.11.08 09:18:21 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • i really believe that he will thrive at flyhalf. i must say, the frans and ruan conundrum seems to be coming to an end. it looks like snor and plum have got together and found a strategy to utilise their talents, which are many.

    we must remember frans is still really young and all he lacks is experience. with him at 12 and ruan at 10 for the super 14, well, it is gonna be interesting and i am feeling really positive.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.11.08 09:35:52 by knersboy Reply
  • Rob

    Nice piece dude but you will NEVER make it as a real journo. You just admited you were wrong!!!!!!!! 😛

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.11.08 09:38:17 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @knersboy (Comment 2) : me too!

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.11.08 09:39:48 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 3) : I take that as a compliment 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.11.08 09:40:36 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • GO RUAN, GO RUAN, GO RUAN !!! 😎 😎 😎

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.11.08 10:06:12 by Charlie Reply
  • Very good work Rob….we need to get more issues resolved at source and expose these half truths and lies….that is the bogging community working at its best.

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.11.08 10:08:39 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive Pass
  • On a different note..
    Wellington – Disgruntled New Zealand Super 14 coaches have blasted the Sanzar decision to axe the competition’s playoffs expansion for 2009.

    After agreement could not be reached with South Africa over the format for a new six-team post-season, Sanzar announced recently that it had abandoned the new finals proposal and would instead return to the traditional format of previous seasons.

    That means that just four teams will contest the Super 14 finals which will be held over a straight semi-finals-final format over two weekends.

    It had been intended to expand the finals by at least a week by bringing six teams into the equation, but South Africa’s selfish call for a guaranteed home playoff for the top team from each country left the Sanzar collective unable to come to a unanimous verdict.

    That in turn forced the playoffs expansion to be abandoned.

    Both New Zealand and Australia firmly believe the top six should be just that – the leading six sides with home advantage being decided by finishing order.

    According to Rugby Heaven columnist Marc Hinton, South Africa’s bizarre call for protection came on the back of a proposed change to a conference system for 2010 and beyond that will then see top finishers in each conference earn home playoff matches.

    The axing of the six-team finals format has disappointed New Zealand coaches who believe the competition is worse off for the retrenchment.

    “It’s disappointing,” said Blues coach Pat Lam. “We understand there needs to be agreement across the three boards, but we certainly felt expansion to a top six would have been great.

    “But it’s not happening so we’ve got to get on with it and ensure we’re in that top four.”


    Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder inherits an outfit well versed in the cut-throat nature of the four-team finals, but even he admits the expanded format had some appeal.

    Chiefs coach Ian Foster says the competition is the worse for the decision to revert to the old format.

    “I felt it would have added something to it and I’ve always been a believer that in Super 14 there are too many good teams to just go down to four,” Foster said.

    Glenn Moore of the Highlanders agreed.

    “It would have been good for the competition,” he said, noting the increase from 12 to 14 teams had not seen the finals expanded.

    “A top six would have allowed teams to stay alive longer.”

    Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper, whose side was a beaten semifinalist this year, also felt a six-team finals format would have been fairer.

    “I’m disappointed, most coaches would be, but it didn’t work out that way,” he said. “The only advantage is that we don’t have to start earlier now.”

    The competition kickoff has been pushed back a week because of the reduced finals, allowing coaches, players – and fans – an extra seven days to prepare.

    Experimental laws

    Strangely, Sanzar was able to reach agreement on the ELVs to play next year. Even more bizarrely they have elected to go for the southern hemisphere version that includes free-kicks for most sanctions.

    This part of the experimental laws has been almost universally shunned in the north to the point where the global ELVs being used outside of the Sanzar competitions do not include them.

    South Africa had been keen to use the global ELVs in the Super 14 to help its transition into the series against the British and Irish Lions which follows. But in the end they have been prepared to compromise on this front.

    Lam said he felt whichever ELVs were used essentially came down to referee interpretations to make them work.

    “We saw during the Air NZ Cup a huge emphasis on the defensive team, which was different from the Super 14 where it was on the attacking team. It’s important refs interpret that well, and allow teams to have a go and play some football, and not the kick-a-thons we have seen.

    “When we played the All Blacks with the Baabaas and used the global ones without free-kicks that actually took the pressure off the ref who allowed the contest to happen at the breakdown.

    “If refs rule that right, allow a chance for a contest and allow the attacking team to clear off defenders at the breakdown, then we’ll see a lot more flowing rugby.”

    Moore and Cooper both felt it would be ideal to have everyone in rugby playing under the same regulations.

    “The quicker we get united the better for the game,” said Cooper, echoing fairly universal sentiments in the game.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.11.08 10:09:38 by Ice (BĂ©bĂ© de Glace) Reply
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 7) : you missing an l? 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.11.08 10:10:14 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 9) :

    No bogs get rid of s#%t don’t they? 😉 …..yes it should be blogging not bogging 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.11.08 10:16:17 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 10) : I promise to do my best to purge the world of toilet journalism

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.11.08 10:46:51 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • I would like the poll to be seperate for Ruan and John. I think Ruan will shine , but I am worried about John 🙄

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.11.08 11:09:11 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) :

    hear hear

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.11.08 11:18:55 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive Pass
  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) :

    Nope! I think Both will Shine.

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.11.08 11:23:05 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) : Just vote twice…

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.11.08 11:51:32 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @chernaya akula – B.O.! (Comment 15) : How ❓

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.11.08 12:49:54 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 3) : 😆

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.11.08 13:10:04 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Pokkel (Comment 16) :

    logging out and voting as a guest
    logging on using a different browser
    deleting cookies

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.11.08 13:15:49 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @chernaya akula – B.O.! (Comment 18) : Nevermind , let’s be positive and I’ll stick with my first vote of they will shine.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.11.08 13:36:37 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @chernaya akula – B.O.! (Comment 18) :

    is your name Hmmm? 😛

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.11.08 13:40:58 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Whatz up??? Wheres all the other girlies??? 🙁 You guys are boring.. 🙄 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.11.08 13:41:27 by Ice (BĂ©bĂ© de Glace) Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 19) : That’s more like it… 🙂

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) : 👿

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.11.08 14:13:45 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @Ice (BĂ©bĂ© de Glace) (Comment 8) : The Kiwis & Ausies have a problem their rugby support is dwindeling. Curry Cup Final= Full House. NPC Final=Half Full. So they will persue any cash around, however the SARU request does seem a bit strange, but they could argue about SA teams disadvantage traveling wise. Hopefully the Sharks have a good draw for their Super14 matches in 2009 after the hectic schedule in 2008 and still got to the Semis.Ruan we have faith in you, you will do the Sharks proud wherever you play. Sitting in NZ I have had to endure lots with SA teams not performing, I can handle it a lot better if I can see that the team at least gave it their best shot and didn’t just capitulate.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.11.08 21:43:36 by Dynamite Reply
  • We know you can do it Ruan – all you need is to be given a consistent place and some faith – show ’em what you got son.

  • Comment 24, posted at 06.11.08 08:06:54 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish

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