Springbok Pienaar heading to Ulster
May 27, 2010
Ruan Pienaar will play his rugby for Ulster next season © Getty Images
Ulster have completed a major transfer coup with the signing of South African utility back Ruan Pienaar on a two-year deal.
The Springbok will join BJ Botha and Johann Muller in the Ulster squad next season, although negotiations for his release are ongoing between the Magners League side and the Sharks.
Pienaar, 26, has won 36 caps at fly-half, scrum-half and fullback and played four games in the Springboks' victorious 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign.
The move throws Pienaar's international future into doubt just over a year out from the World Cup in New Zealand, although he is slated to start at fly-half for South Africa against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on June 5 in a team featuring five overseas players.
"Bringing Ruan to Ulster is a massive statement of our ambition to be competing with the top teams in the Magners League and ERC," Ulster's operations director David Humphreys said.
"He is one of the most naturally gifted players in world rugby and having had huge experience at international level with the Springboks, we believe Ruan will help Ulster achieve success over the next couple of seasons."
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers