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Ulster legend Pienaar returns to Irish 'home' with Cheetahs

Ruan Pienaar (Gallo Images)
Ruan Pienaar (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Ulsterman Ruan Pienaar returns to Kingspan Stadium when he leads the Cheetahs onto the field on Saturday.

The action in Belfast kicks off at 21:35 (SA time).

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Pienaar, who represented Ulster from 2010-2017 and is considered one of the club's finest ever scrumhalves, is sure to get a warm reception from the crowd.  

Coach Hawies Fourie has made nine changes to the side from last week. In the front row, Boan Venter, Wilmar Arnoldi and Luan du Bruin switch places with Charles Marais, Joseph Dweba and Aranos Coetzee.

Sintu Manjezi returns from a shoulder injury and will be starting on lock with Walt Steenkamp. JP du Preez will be providing cover on the bench. The wings are Craig Barry and Rhyno Smith with Clayton Blommetjies on fullback.

The two sides will now look ahead to this crunch clash at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, both aiming to get their campaigns back on track. A late Luke Price penalty saw second-placed Ulster suffer an agonising 26-24 defeat at Ospreys last weekend and fall further behind leaders Leinster. There was also disappointment for the Cheetahs who had moved into Conference B’s top three with back-to-back wins over Southern Kings only to then lose to Leinster.

The two sides have met on three previous occasions with each team winning once at home and sharing a 39-draw in Bloemfontein in September 2018.

Teams:

Ulster

15 Michael Lowry, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 James Hume, 11 Louis Ludik, 10 Bill Johnston, 9 David Shanahan, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Nick Timoney, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O'Connor (captain), 3 Marty Moore, 2 Adam McBurney, 1 Eric O'Sullivan

Substitutes: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Tom O'Toole, 19 David O'Connor, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Jonny Stewart, 22 Stewart Moore, 23 Craig Gilroy

Cheetahs:

15 Clayton Blommetjies, Rhyno Smith, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Craig Barry, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Boan Venter

Substitutes: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Chris Smit

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