Ruan Pienaar’s rugby pedigree and consistency in efficiency is such that I’d haven’t any reservation calling on him within the case of a Springboks World Cup halfback harm disaster, writes Mark Keohane.
Two years in the past, I wrote that I’d choose Morne Steyn for the Springboks towards the British & Irish Lions. My argument was that he may present the last word insurance coverage coverage off the bench. I used to be mocked and requested if I wished to deliver again the late Danie Craven as nicely.
Nobody was mocking me on the evening Steyn kicked the Springboks to a collection win towards the Lions within the collection decider at Cape City’s DHL Stadium. Steyn, who received the 2009 collection with the sport’s final kick, did precisely the identical in 2022.
Steyn formally retired a fortnight in the past, saying goodbye to the Bulls, however he was one other who I might have chosen forward of Chris Smith and John Goosen for the Bulls. Steyn was successfully the third selection No 10 for a lot of the season however the Bulls could have received a couple of extra matches had they embraced Steyn’s longevity and efficiency extra and never dismissed his choice on the premise of age.
If adequate is sufficiently old, when making the case of a 19 year-old, then adequate is younger sufficient for the 39 year-old Pienaar, who in March subsequent yr shall be 40. Pienaar, who scored 22 factors within the Cheetahs 39-10 Currie Cup semi-final win towards the Bulls final Saturday, has prolonged his taking part in contract by one other season, and he actually wouldn’t be misplaced in a Springboks jersey.
I’m not saying choose him for the Springboks proper now forward of the incumbents, but when ever a participant may reply an SOS near the World Cup or through the World Cup, it could be this magnificent rugby participant.
Pienaar, of Gray School inventory and the son of Springbok fullback Gysie (Pienaar) was born into rugby. It has all the time been in his household and it has all the time been in his genes.
The veteran has principally performed at No 9, however is comfy at No 10 and has additionally performed Take a look at rugby at No 15 and on the wing for South Africa, with the final of his 88 Assessments coming on the 2015 World Cup bronze play-off match.
He signed for Ulster in Belfast in 2010 and was sensational within the opening season. He would keep that kind and consistency all through his time in Eire. He performed 141 matches for Ulster and would nonetheless be there however for an Irish Rugby Union ruling that limits a overseas recruit to 1 participant per place, throughout all positions. When Leinster signed James Gibson-Park from New Zealand, as a part of a nationwide undertaking, Pienaar needed to look elsewhere. He opted for 2 seasons at Montpellier earlier than returning dwelling to Bloemfontein and the Cheetahs, the town of his delivery and education.
He mentioned his profession had come full circle and that the Cheetahs schoolboy consultant would lastly get to put on the senior jersey. Pienaar, on leaving faculty, had been contracted the Sharks and there was no shock when the Cheetahs loaned him to the Sharks a season in the past throughout a time of inactivity for the Cheetahs.
Pienaar’s consistency is matched by his loyalty to these groups he has represented in completely over 400 skilled matches and scoring greater than 2000 factors.
It’s unimaginable to assume that he made his Currie Cup debut in 2004 and in 2024 he’ll nonetheless be taking part in within the Currie Cup.
He provides the Cheetahs all the pieces, as a participant and mentor to youthful gamers, and he would add as a lot worth to the Springboks in second of absolute emergency.