Pienaar enjoying Sharks mentorship role

Ruan Pienaar is relishing his current role in the Sharks leadership group, which includes passing on his knowledge to the young scrumhalves. DYLAN JACK reports.

Pienaar is currently on loan at the Sharks from the Cheetahs as part of a unique player-sharing deal between the two clubs, in which Tian Meyer has also been loaned to the Durban-based side.

The 37-year-old spoke to SA Rugby magazine about his return to the Sharks – having previously played for the team between 2004 and 2010 – as well as his future, the future of the Cheetahs and the challenges of playing in Europe in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

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The Sharks have this year seen three of the team’s young scrumhalves – Sanele Nohamba (22), Jaden Hendrikse (21) and Grant Williams (25) – all involved in the Springbok squad at various stages of the season. Hendrikse was able to make his Test debut in the Rugby Championship against Argentina, before suffering a long-term injury, while Williams is currently with the Springboks for the November tour of the United Kingdom.

“The Sharks have got a few really good young scrumhalves,” Pienaar told SA Rugby magazine.

“Grant Williams is away on Springbok duty and Jaden Hendrikse showed a lot of potential and deserved his first call-up and first cap for South Africa. Sanele Nohamba is also here.

“For me, it’s about sharing my knowledge with them. I have to try to bring a bit of calmness and game management to the team.

“It’s enjoyable. I am at the back end of my career, so it’s a completely different place for me. When I first arrived at the Sharks, I was a youngster trying to take everything in and get as much information as I could. I was grateful to have guys like Stefan Terblanche, Percy Montgomery, John Smit, Warren Brosnihan and Johann Muller.

“You definitely need a few old heads and I’m enjoying that role.”

When asked about his future, Pienaar said that he will make a call next October, when his current contract with the Cheetahs expires.

“I still really enjoy it. When you are young, you stress and worry abut what everybody thinks about you and how you are playing. You get stuck reading newspapers and all that stuff.

“The older you get, the more you realise that you have to enjoy it. Eleven years ago, I left the Sharks and now I am back. It seems like ages ago and I still try to enjoy it. I’m still competitive and I feel like I have something to add.

“I’m signed on until October next year. That will probably be the end of my career, I guess. If I come to that stage and I feel like I can make a difference I might carry on. I will see. I don’t want to push it too far.”

Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO/Shutterstock

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Dylan Jack