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Scrum-half duo commit to Ulster
ESPNscrum Staff
January 11, 2012
Ruan Pienaar spins out a pass in training, Springboks training session, Florida Park, Ravensmead, Cape Town, South Africa, July 6, 2011
Ruan Pienaar in training for the Springboks © Getty Images
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Ulster have received a boost ahead of their Heineken Cup clash with Leicester on Friday with the news that scrum-halves Ruan Pienaar and Paul Marshall have both signed new deals with the club.

The pair will stay at Ravenhill until June 2014 and Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys has revealed he will look toward Pienaar to herald in the next generation of youngsters at the province.

"We have been negotiating to retain Ruan since the summer and are delighted that he has chosen to extend his contract with us," Humphreys said. "He has been instrumental in the team's success since joining us in 2010. He's a true match winner and a total professional from his attitude in the gym, through the mentoring role he plays with younger players to the quality of performance he delivers consistently each week.

"Paul took his opportunity at the start of the season when Ruan was at the World Cup and has really impressed with his performances, evident last week when he was involved in three of the four tries Ulster scored against Edinburgh. Paul has made a huge contribution to the squad in the last few years both on and off the field.

"Scrum-half is such a key position within the team that every squad needs two quality players in this position and we are delighted that both have chosen to remain with Ulster Rugby"

Pienaar has shone for Ulster since his debut back in October 2010 and made a splash in his first season at Ravenhill scooping their player of the year award and the Celtic league player of the year award. And Pienaar admitted it was an easy decision to commit to Ulster.

"I've really enjoyed my first two seasons here when and the opportunity came to extend the deal I was very excited," said Pienaar. "I've made some good friends here and I've really enjoyed the rugby side. The people of Belfast have welcomed myself and my family with open arms and so it was an easy decision in the end."

Marshall is a graduate from Ulster's academy and took his bow for the senior side back in the 2006-07 season. He has since turned out for the Ireland A side and he is relishing the chance to continue his development at Ravenhill.

"I think with the way things have been going the last number of weeks we're really moving forward and when you look at the strength of our squad and the players we're signing it's showing a real intent from the management right the way down that we want to compete with the best teams in Europe and be the best team in Europe," Marshall said. "From my point of view I'm happy to be here and am really enjoying my rugby at the minute."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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