Pienaar’s future at No.9

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:45
Large ruan pienaar h s 630 Large ruan pienaar ulster passes Large ruanpienaarireland

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe believes Ruan Pienaar’s future lies at scrumhalf following calls for the Springbok to be switched to flyhalf.

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe believes Ruan Pienaar’s future lies at scrumhalf following calls for the Springbok to be switched to flyhalf.

Which position is best suited for the versatile Pienaar has long been debated by several of his coaches, who have had contrasting opinions on where the 28-year-old is most effective.

Although primarily a scrumhalf, where he has played 37 Tests for the Springboks, Pienaar has also featured at flyhalf (13), fullback (10) and wing (3) in his 63-Test career to date.

The son of former Springbok fullback Gysie Pienaar was compared by World Cup-winning Springbok coach Jake White to Wallaby flyhalf Stephen Larkham and was a revelation in the No.10 jersey in South Africa’s unbeaten end-of-year tour in 2008.  

The following year he started the first two Tests against the British and Irish Lions at flyhalf but lost the position to Morné Steyn after the Bulls pivot had kicked the series-winning penalty in the dying minutes of the second Test at Loftus Versfeld.

With Fourie du Preez entrenched as first-choice scrumhalf until his retirement from Test rugby after the 2011 World Cup, Pienaar was given an opportunity at fullback before being relegated to the role of impact player.

His move to Ulster in 2010 allowed Pienaar an extended run in his preferred No.9 jersey and saw him usurp Francois Hougaard as starting scrumhalf for South Africa last year.  
   
Pienaar’s all-round skill set has led to new calls for a shift to flyhalf at Ulster with Paul Marshall starting at scrumhalf considered by many in the Irish media to be in the club’s best interest.

Anscombe, however, feels Pienaar belongs at scrumhalf.

"Arguably, he is, if not the best, one of the best nines in the world," said Anscombe.

"He is such a good footballer he could play a number of positions. And he has done that at international level.

"But the fact is you have to ask yourself, when you have got someone who is world class in one position, why would you play him somewhere else?

"Yes he could do it, but the fact is that his kicking game from the base of the scrum and the ruck is just outstanding, he is second to no man."

Anscombe also spoke of his belief in young flyhalf Paddy Jackson.

"We have Paddy Jackson, who we have a lot of confidence and faith in.

"We think he is a good young man and he is only getting better as a footballer. Yeah he's not perfect but he is 21 years of age."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 6 0 0 28
Ulster 6 4 0 2 18
Oyonnax 6 1 0 5 7
Toulouse 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 16
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 16
Ospreys 6 3 0 3 16
Clermont Auvergne 6 3 0 3 15
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Racing Metro 6 4 1 1 22
Northampton Saints 6 4 1 1 19
Glasgow Warriors 6 3 0 3 14
Scarlets 6 0 0 6 2
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 6 5 0 1 23
Stade Francais 6 4 0 2 19
Munster 6 3 0 3 15
Treviso 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 0 2 20
Toulon 6 5 0 1 20
Bath 6 2 0 4 10
Leinster 6 1 0 5 6