Pienaar set for Bok start

Ruan Pienaar (Gallo Images)
Ruan Pienaar (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Ruan Pienaar looks set to start at nine for the Springboks in Saturday’s opening Rugby Championship test match against Argentina, with Fourie du Preez on the bench.

The supersport.com website reports that Pienaar went through training at nine for most of the afternoon session at Fourways High School as the Boks got down to business in the warm winter sun and is set to be named at halfback alongside Morne Steyn when the team is named on Wednesday.

The Ulster scrumhalf, who played behind Jano Vermaak against Italy in June and then played in both the Scotland and Samoa victories, will retain his spot ahead of Du Preez, whose four months on the sideline mean he is likely to start from the bench.

Du Preez looked sharp for a player who hasn’t played in four months, and the deft passes he put in the practice sessions and experience in using the right options backed up Heyneke Meyer’s decision to recall him to the national set-up.

And it was clear he impressed the Bok coach and although he ran with the reserves most of the time, there still is an outside chance of him starting this weekend.

"I was very impressed with Fourie today, I always knew he was a world class player and it has been an honour to coach him since he was 18 or 19 years old.

"You can see when a guy has class, he hasn’t lost anything," Meyer said.

"I know it is just the first training session, but the little passes, and the way he put players through gaps was impressive.

"His kicking game is world class and you could see that in training as well.

"I always believe a quality player has a lot of time on the ball and he has that.

"I will make a decision only late on Tuesday, or early on Wednesday – because I need to make the right decision – but I’m very happy that I brought him in.

"You could see the way he spoke to the youngsters – guys like Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi.

"He brings a steady vibe to the team, so its great to have him there.

"We also have two other scrumhalves and we’re now in the fortunate position where we have great scrumhalves and anyone of them can start."

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