Pienaar hails unselfish Specman for helping with birthday promise: My kids are very happy

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Ruan Pienaar had an interesting birthday outing. (Gallo Images)
Ruan Pienaar had an interesting birthday outing. (Gallo Images)
  • Ruan Pienaar expressed his gratitude to team-mate Rosko Specman for helping him keep a birthday promise in the Cheetahs' win over the Sharks in the preparation series.
  • The Cheetahs skipper had told his children he'd score a try for them on his 37th birthday and his Blitzboks friend gave up his own score to make it a reality.
  • More importantly, Pienaar believes it once again reinforces the Specman legend, a game-breaker with the heart of a team-man.

Ruan Pienaar was indebted to his Cheetahs team-mate and Blitzboks star Rosko Specman for helping him fulfil what could've been a pretty difficult birthday promise.

The former Springbok stalwart and skipper of the central franchise turned 37 on Wednesday, hours before his side was due to face the Sharks in a preparation series meeting in Bloemfontein and, at the behest of his children, told them he'd score a try on his birthday.

That moment came in the eighth minute, when a perfectly weighted pass from Cheetahs centre Chris Smit found fullback Clayton Blommetjies, who beat one defender to free up Specman for the score.

However, just when it seemed the winger would dot down, he threw the ball to Pienaar.


Rosko Specman goes over the tryline before passing unselfishly to Ruan Pienaar. (Gallo Images)

"That was hardly rehearsed," the veteran scrumhalf said with a chuckle.

"He just seemingly tried to give me a nice birthday present. My kids will be especially happy. They asked me to score a try on my birthday, so I had to make them a promise."

Nonetheless, Pienaar believes the gesture is just part of a Specman legend, a man with immense game-breaking skills but the heart of the ultimate team-man.

"He lives for the team, despite the magic that he can deliver. Daily and weekly, Rosko just gives his best and he never lets his standards slip. I'm grateful for the 'present'."

To cap off an interesting evening for him, Pienaar - who kept up well with the pace of a very open game - had the ignominy of missing one of his easier kicks at goal of a distinguished career though he could be forgiven for it.

Indeed, place-kicking was one of the last skills he could work on again following his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury back at the start of Super Rugby Unlocked last year.

"Frans Steyn was bit tired at that stage. To be honest, I was too, so I hit the ball at bit too much on the side," Pienaar candidly admitted.

"I'll obviously have to work a bit on that aspect of my game still, I've only had two proper sessions of goal-kicking again since the injury. 

"I wasn't particularly chuffed that he threw the ball to me, but it's a skill I pride myself on and I'll work on it. I can't miss those types of kicks in future." 

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