It is official – the veteran Springbok scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar, as signed a two-year contract with the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd.
The 35-year-old player who has played close two 150 games for Ulster in Ireland, and also spent some time with Montpellier in France, will be returning to where it all started.
Pienaar is a product of Grey College in Bloemfontein and is also the son of the legendary Free State fullback, Gysie Pienaar.
Pienaar is a versatile player and can also provide cover for the Cheetahs at flyhalf or at fullback.
His experience will be invaluable for the Cheetahs, especially with the departure of Shaun Venter (Wales) and Rudy Paige (France).
The skillful player represented the Springboks in 88 test matches.
Pienaar was named at scrumhalf in the Magners League Team of the Year for the 2010/11 season and also scooped the Magners League player of the Year award which was voted for by his peers. Pienaar was again selected at scrumhalf for the RaboDirect Pro12 Dream Team for the 2011/12 season and was also named captain of the side.
In 2012 Pienaar played in the Heineken Cup Final, scoring 9 points against Leinster. In 2013 he played in the Pro 12 Final, scoring all of Ulster’s 18 points to Leinster.
Between 2004 and 2010 he represented the Sharks in 32 Currie Cup games and 67 Super Rugby matches. – MORGAN PIEK