Pienaar 'forced' to leave Ulster

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09:13
Large ruan pienaar ulster 800

NEWS: Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has been forced to leave Irish province Ulster.

The Pro12 outfit confirmed that Pienaar will leave the club  at the end of the 2016/17 season, because of Irish Rugby Football Union succession policy.

The club and the player were very keen for him to extend his stay in Belfast, with Operations Director Bryn Cunningham and Director of Rugby Les Kiss working with the IRFU over the past six months to reach a desirable outcome.

Unfortunately, a contract extension was not possible because of the IRFU's succession policy.

Pienaar has scored 777 points in 118 competitive games for Ulster and he was a starring member of the squad that reached the 2012 European Rugby Champions Cup Final.

"I am not moving on for a new adventure or for financial reasons, I wanted to stay and I know that Ulster did everything it could to keep me in Belfast," Pienaar said.

"Ulster is special to me and my family now, and I would like to thank my wife, Monique, for coming here to support me and for helping to make it home for us.

"I would also like to thank all of the players and staff at Ulster, the supporters and the general public, for their support and encouragement since our arrival. It has been brilliant to see the progress that the organisation has made in recent years, particularly with the new facilities here at Kingspan Stadium.

"The club has given me a lot and I'd like to be in a position to give something back in the future if possible.

"I have many great memories of my time here and I have made some brilliant friends within rugby and outside of it. It is sad that this will be my last season as an Ulster player but I will be doing everything to ensure that we make it a successful campaign."

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss was understandably disappointed with the outcome.

"Ruan has been an outstanding servant to Ulster over the past six years and he will be a huge loss for us next season," Kiss said.

"For me, he is a fantastic player, but he is an even better person, who is much-loved by his team-mates, the staff and management, and the wider rugby community here in Ulster.

"His influence within the squad, both on and off the field, is truly remarkable; whether that is through match-winning contributions, or mentoring the promising players coming through our pathway. Indeed, he has played a big part in helping us to develop a large group of talented young backline players who have gone on to represent Ireland in recent years.

"He is a consummate professional and I have absolutely no doubt that he will give everything to the Ulster cause for the rest of the season. Our hope is that he will one day return to the Province to continue to have a positive impact on rugby in Ulster."

Shane Logan, Ulster Rugby's Chief Executive, added: "I, personally, will miss having him around Kingspan Stadium, but I am looking forward to seeing what he will deliver for us over the course of this season, and the door is open for a return in the future."

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, stated: "The IRFU recognises the contribution that Ruan Pienaar has made to Ulster over the seven year period he will have been with the club.

"However, the IRFU informed Ulster during the 2015/16 season that it would not sanction a further extension of his contract.  
 
"It is vital for both Ulster and Ireland that the province develop indigenous talent in this position and an extension of Ruan's contract would further prevent Irish qualified Ulster players from maximising their developmental potential and becoming stars for both Ulster and Ireland."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
PRO12
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 20 17 0 3 79
Munster 20 17 0 3 76
Scarlets 20 15 0 5 67
Ospreys 20 13 0 7 65
Ulster 20 13 1 6 64
Glasgow Warriors 20 11 0 9 57
Cardiff Blues 20 9 1 10 45
Connacht 20 9 7 11 44
Edinburgh 20 4 0 16 23
Dragons 20 4 0 16 21
Treviso 20 4 0 16 19
Zebre 20 3 0 17 18