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View Full Version : Pienaar: It's Nine or I'M GOOOONE



Steve-o
15-08-08, 04:22 PM
http://www.keo.co.za/2008/08/15/pienaar-nine-or-nothing/





Ruan Pienaar could be lost to South African rugby if the Sharks don’t settle on him as a scrumhalf .

This was confirmed to keo.co.za by the player’s agent Hilton Houghton. While Houghton was unwilling to disclose their names, he did acknowledge that Pienaar has received offers from four English clubs, three in France and six in Japan. Most notable, however, is that an Australian franchise is very interested in acquiring his services.

The 24-year-old has two years to run on his Sharks contract, but has a clause that allows him to leave if he is not being selected for the Springboks.

According to Houghton, Pienaar’s main point of frustration stems from being shifted around the backline constantly. He has played flyhalf and fullback for the Durban franchise, while he’s filled those roles as well as wing and centre for the Springboks. Pienaar has on a numerous occasions voiced his preference for scrumhalf, but those appeals have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

According to Houghton, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has told Pienaar that he has to specialise at scrumhalf if he hopes to make the national squad. Pienaar has now given the Sharks an ultimatum to play him at scrumhalf or risk losing him to a foreign club. Houghton says while the Sharks have agreed to this, they have backtracked on previous assurances that Pienaar would play scrumhalf.

“Ruan understands that he has to prove himself as any player would. All he’s looking for is an opportunity to do so in what he feels is his strongest position,” he told keo.co.za. “He’s not enjoying his rugby at the moment and doesn’t want to become the next Brent Russell.

“He doesn’t want to go overseas, I have to stress that. But he’s a professional and if the Sharks are unwilling to meet his request he’ll move a club where he is able to play at scrumhalf. He’s been accommodating and made the sacrifice by playing wherever the Sharks have needed him over the last four years. Now he feels it’s time he settles at No 9.

“From a Springboks perspective Peter de Villiers sees him as the number four scrumhalf in the country,” he continued. “He wants the opportunity to work himself up to number one and he can only achieve that by playing regularly in that position for his union. He totally understands that he is surplus to requirements now, but he wants to play his way back into contention.

“He has to play scrumhalf for the Sharks or he’s gone.”

Sharks commercial manager Rudolf Straeuli denies any knowledge of the ultimatum, but Houghton insists that Straeuli was present in discussions related to Pienaar and added that Sharks coach John Plumtree met with Pienaar’s father, former Springbok fullback Geysie Pienaar, to discuss the issue.

Straeuli said he could not comment on whether Pienaar would be given an extended run at scrumhalf, as that was a coaching decision that he had no control over. Efforts to reach Plumtree proved futile.

Pienaar enjoyed an outstanding season at scrumhalf in 2007, playing a central role in the Sharks’ run to the Super 14 final. With Fourie du Preez injured, he then established himself as the first-choice scrumhalf for the Springboks in the Tri-Nations, bumping Ricky Januarie to the bench.

He started poorly in 2008, but this was understandable given that he had minimal game time at scrumhalf after the Super 14, playing a bit part role at the World Cup.

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In many ways I can understand his frustration, but then I'm also disappointed at his unwillingness to play 10 evethough Michalak is leaving at the end of the Currie Cup and he has showed great potential there. Or is that spot being reserved for Steyn? Hope not. I think shows the depth SA Rugby is currently enjoying that a guy like Pienaar can't even cement a spot in his provincial team BUT the Sharks lack depth at 10 now with both Barritt and Michalak leaving. Pienaar should stop whinging and grab that opportunity, wanting to be a specialist scrum-half is a bit one eyed imo. I tell you one thing, he ain't gonna take Kockott's spot, Kockett out shone him ten-fold in this years S14. Raising another question, WHY THE HELL WAS CONRADIE GIVEN A CHANCE AHEAD OF KOCKOTT?!

Anyway I don't think Pienaar will leave... Don't the Cheetahs need a scrumie?

Sir Speedy
15-08-08, 04:25 PM
Come to think of it, the Cardiff Blues need a decent scrum-half. -_-

DC
15-08-08, 04:43 PM
Yea i agree, i think Rory is a much better scrum half with a lot more upside than Pienaar. I just don't think Pienaar will ever be a great international scrum half i think he has slower than slow service to his 10 and i don't think he makes the best decisions. And besides Du Preez his gonna be around for a good number of years still and i certainly can't see Pienaar taking over Du Preez Springboks duty.

Steve-o
15-08-08, 05:19 PM
Yea i agree, i think Rory is a much better scrum half with a lot more upside than Pienaar. I just don't think Pienaar will ever be a great international scrum half i think he has slower than slow service to his 10 and i don't think he makes the best decisions. And besides Du Preez his gonna be around for a good number of years still and i certainly can't see Pienaar taking over Du Preez Springboks duty.
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Absolutely right about his service, many SA fans express that concern regularly. He's strengths are his vision, his tactical and place kicking, and his elusive running. Everything a 10 needs.

ollybarkley
16-08-08, 03:09 AM
It's always a shame when players make ultimatums to their management. I know that 9 is a tough position in SA to make your own, especially with Du Preez right now being rated as the world's best SH at the moment, and I think it's a fairly well deserved title.

I feel if Pienaar really wants an international career, he should be looking at moving to either 10, 13, or 15. Those are the major spots up for grabs in the SA side for the next few years, especially given Jacque Fourie's recent injury troubles. F. Steyn is another one who is in that same position of bouncing around the backlnie, but I don't see him as a 10. He is most certainly a 12, 13 or 15 IMHO.

As you have said, Pienaar would be smartest to take a run at 10 with Barritt and Michilak leaving the Sharks franchise. He could have 2 or 3 straight S14 series to get himself up to speed at the position to compete for the 10 slot for NZ WC11.