09 December 2023 - 15:00
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
Ruan Pienaar is the captain and scrum-half for the Toyota Cheetahs.
Ruan is a very skilful rugby player. Besides being able to pass well, he can kick with both feet, and his vision and running style moved former Springbok coach Jake White to compare him with Australian flyhalf Stephen Larkham.
Pienaar played his high school rugby in Bloemfontein, where he attended Grey College. He played for the Free State Craven Week side in 2002.
Pienaar has been part of u19 (2003), u21 (2005) and senior Rugby World Cup (2007), winning squads. He also won the Currie Cup in 2008 (with the Sharks) and 2019 (with the Cheetahs).
He made his provincial first-class debut for the Cheetahs on 14 February 2004 in a friendly match against Western Province in Bloemfontein, scoring a try!
Ruan Pienaar is a Springbok veteran with 88 Test caps to his name. The scrumhalf was born-and-bred in Bloemfontein and is the son of the Free State Rugby legend, Gysie Pienaar. Both Ruan and Gysie played for the Springboks.
Ruan joined the Sharks in 2004 and played in 32 Currie Cup, and 67 Super Rugby matches for the franchise.
After leaving the Sharks in 2010, Pienaar joined Ulster in Ireland, where he became a legend of the club. In 141 games for the side from Belfast, he scored 877 points. In 2017 he left Ulster to play for Montpellier in France, where he was teammates with numerous Free Staters such as Jan Sterkfontein, Frans Steyn, Johan Goosen and Henry Immelmann, but to name a few. All of them attended the same Alma Mater. He left the club as one of its most celebrated players of the professional era.
Pienaar made his debut for the Springboks in the 2006 Tri-Nations against New Zealand and was a member of the victorious 2007 World Cup squad.
On 25 July 2009, Pienaar played flyhalf for the Springboks in their 28-19 win over the All Blacks in Bloemfontein at the then Vodacom Park. Pienaar's had an outstanding Test on the day, scored one of the Springbok's two tries, and converted a penalty.
As he did not play club rugby in South Africa since June 2010, it seemed unlikely he would be called up again to play for the national team. SARU has a policy of selecting foreign-based players in exceptional circumstances only. However, on 20 June 2011, it was reported that Pienaar was named in South Africa's 49-Man World Cup preliminary training squad.
Pienaar played for Montpellier during the 2017/18 season before returning home to South Africa in 2019, signing with Pro14 outfit the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. He also played Currie Cup and held the Currie Cup trophy.
Before the inaugural United Rugby Championship, Pienaar was loaned to the Sharks for the 2021/22 season as part of work carried out to ensure that many of the best South African players were playing for the South African teams in the tournament as possible.
He is part of the 2023 Currie Cup winner's squad.