Ruan Pienaar spurns Toulon for Ulster
October 8, 2013
Ruan Pienaar will stay at Ulster for another three years © Getty Images
Springboks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar has handed Ulster a huge boost ahead of Friday's Heineken Cup opener against Leicester Tigers with the province announcing he has signed a new three-year deal.
The news will come as a surprise to some with reports at the end of September claiming strongly linked with Castres' Rory Kockott and Tuesday's announcement from Ulster puts to bed any notion of Pienaar lining up in the Top 14 next season.
Pienaar has excelled for Ulster since joining from the Sharks in 2010 and has become one of their key players. As Ireland attempt to keep hold of a number of their key stars amid reported interest from the Top 14, Pienaar's decision will come as a welcome relief for those who feared seeing talents such as he opt for greater riches across the Channel.
The scrum-half said he was "delighted" to be staying at Ulster while their director of rugby David Humphreys was also pleased with the news. He said: "The announcement of this contract will give everyone at Ulster Rugby - the players, the staff and the fans a huge lift, especially as it had been wrongly reported that Ruan would be leaving us.
"It was no surprise to us that his services were coveted by other clubs, but we always knew that what we could offer him in terms of a great playing squad, a world class stadium and state-of-the-art training facilities would be enough to make him want to stay.
"Ruan's decision to commit to three more years at Ravenhill is a huge endorsement of what we are doing at Ulster and I have no doubt that he will be a key part of our success in the coming seasons."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales