The Cheetahs have confirmed that captain Ruan Pienaar will be joining the Sharks on a short-term loan as part of a new agreement between the two teams.
The Bloemfontein franchise on Wednesday announced a cooperation agreement with the Sharks to exchange players and to support each other on a broader front.
The two franchises said this step benefits both teams in terms of their game and financially, and is also in the broader interests of South African rugby.
In terms of the agreement, the Cheetahs and Sharks will make some of their players available to each other on request and when competitions do not overlap.
The Sharks will also provide players to the Cheetahs, possibly during the 2022 Currie Cup competition.
With this in mind, the Cheetahs confirmed that Pienaar and Tian Meyer will both be returning to the Sharks on short-term loan deals.
Meyer will be available for the United Rugby Championship outbound tour and will then return to the Cheetahs. With Springbok selection and injuries ruling out three of the Sharks scrumhalves, Pienaar will be involved for a longer period in the competition.
The 37-year-old Pienaar started his professional career at the Sharks, representing the team between 2004 and 2010, winning close to a combined 100 caps in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
His experience in the PRO14 with Ulster, whom he joined from the Sharks in 2010 and made over 140 appearances for, will be invaluable to the Durban side.
Meyer spent a short period with the Sharks in 2013, having also represented the Lions, Griquas and Pumas in his career.
“The international disruption of rugby by Covid-19 and its economic consequences necessitates the rebuilding and strengthening of this wonderful game. This requires innovative plans to retain good players and coaches, to maintain performance and to ultimately achieve. The cooperation agreement would help both teams and offer them flexibility,” said Harold Verster and Dr Eduard Coetzee, respective CEOs of the Cheetahs and Sharks.
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