Pienaar relishing kicking responsibility

2012-10-04 08:34

Ruan Pienaar nearly became South Africa’s Chris Whitaker because of the quality scrum halves he had to compete with.

Entrusted with the kicking duties in Saturday’s crucial Test against New Zealand at the FNB Stadium, it is a responsibility Pienaar says he will not be shirking.

“It is something I enjoy and it did not go as well as I would have liked it to be on Saturday,” the Ulster player says.

“I haven’t been in a pressure situation since my season ended at Ulster in the Heineken Cup. I need to get back in that role again and take that responsibility and do it as well as possible.”

It is an experience that Pienaar wants to draw on, especially against a side like New Zealand, who are not generous when it comes to giving away scoring opportunities.

“I had a good season with the kicking boot in the Northern Hemisphere and I would like to continue in that manner,” he says.

“I still need to train a lot harder and tweak a couple of things here and there. There are a lot of quality kickers and I know we need to improve in that area as well.”

Before he left the country, Pienaar was seen as a utility player. That did his confidence no favours as he struggled to adjust to several positions.

He says that his spell in Northern Ireland has helped him gain a lot of confidence.

“You are totally out of your comfort zone, you have to adapt quickly and the conditions are a lot worse there than they are here,” he says.

“I’ve learnt a lot over there and I tried to work on a lot of things as a scrum half. Before I left, I played a bit all over and it was good to get an extended run at nine over there.”

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