WP eye Ruan Pienaar

2011-05-11 00:00

THE Sharks are miffed about the role that Rassie Erasmus, who is now involved with both the Springboks and the Stormers, is playing in attempting to lure Ruan Pienaar to Cape Town.

Pienaar, disillusioned with Springbok rugby and coach Peter de Villiers, left Durban and the Sharks last year and joined Ulster on a two-year contract. But the Stormers, according to Pienaar’s agent, are now negotiating with Ulster to secure the scrumhalf’s services on loan for the crucial final weeks of Super Rugby.

Sharks commercial manager Rudolf Straeuli said yesterday that there is a conflict of interest “just as there was when Dick Muir was involved with coaching the Lions and the Springboks”.

“Now we have Rassie, who is contracted to both the Stormers and the Springboks, trying to get Ruan to Cape Town.

“When Ruan left Durban for Ulster it was not because he was unhappy with the Sharks. It was all about the way he had been treated by De Villiers. Ruan has told us that he will return to Durban next June [when his contract with Ulster ends]. But what has now changed that there is suddenly talk of him joining Rassie and the Stormers.”

The Stormers, according to Cape Town reports, have left on their four-match tour of New Zealand and Australia a man short and are hoping that Pienaar will join them by the end of the month. Pienaar’s agent, Gerrie Swart, confirmed there have been talks with the Stormers.

“The Stormers made contact and we are now discussing it with Ulster,” Swart told News24.

Pienaar’s season with Ulster could end with the Magners League semi-final against Leinster on Friday night. Victory would take them through to the final on May 28.

The Stormers are keen to have Pienaar cover both scrumhalf and flyhalf and Erasmus will argue that Pienaar needs the exposure to challenge for a place in the Bok World Cup squad. But, as Straeuli pointed out yesterday, De Villiers has already chosen a number of overseas players for his Springbok teams.

Meanwhile, Pienaar was named as Magners League players’ player of the season at the annual league awards dinner in Dublin on Monday night. Tony McGahan of Munster was selected coach of the season.

Pienaar has excelled in his first season for Ulster, playing a major role in their advance to the league semi-finals and European Cup quarters.

Pienaar’s award was the evening’s major accolade and the Springbok was delighted.

“It has been an unbelievable first season for me at Ulster. I came to a place that I didn’t know, but thanks to the team I settled in very quickly and enjoyed myself,” said Pienaar.

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