Free State Cheetahs' Ruan Pienaar will be back for semi-final clash against Blue Bulls

Ruan Pienaar in action for the Free State Cheetahs. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

Ruan Pienaar in action for the Free State Cheetahs. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

Published Jun 13, 2023


Johannesburg — Former Springbok Ruan Pienaar will return to the Free State Cheetahs this weekend when the Bloemfontein-based outfit host the Blue Bulls in their Currie Cup semi-final, but where he slots in is yet to be determined, coach Hawies Fourie revealed on Tuesday.

Pienaar — who was capped on 88 occasions for the Boks — missed the brilliant, come-from-behind 31-27 victory at Loftus against the same opposition this past weekend due to a family bereavement. Due to his enforced non-availability, Fourie selected Rewan Kruger and Siya Masuku as his starting half-back pairing, and that combination will seemingly be changed for Saturday’s clash at the Free State Stadium (3pm kickoff).

“Ruan would have played last week, if not for his responsibility towards his family,” Fourie explained unequivocally on Tuesday during a media briefing ahead of the semi. “I believe he will be ready to play this weekend and he will be considered.

“We can select him at No 9 or 10 and we will make that decision (later this week).

"He had to spend time with his family, look after his children, his wife and everyone else. We respected that and it was the best decision for the team as well.

"It was big for Ruan to make the call on Thursday and he said, it is better for Siya to know early that he is going to start and that Zinedine (Booysen) is going to be on the bench … It is good to have him back for the semi-final.”

It could possibly be the 39-year-old Pienaar’s last match as a professional rugby player. The Cheetahs will surely look to extend their captain's playing days for one more week by repeating their most recent triumph over Jake White’s team.

It has been reported that Peinaar will make a final decision on his career towards October, when his contract comes to an end with the union.

Fourie, meanwhile, also revealed that he will be able to select his most potent and powerful matchday 23 for the clash as there are currently no injury concerns within the squad.


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