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Ruan Pienaar’s Farewell Message To Fans Is Incredibly Touching

Ruan Pienaar’s seven-season tenure with Ulster is about to come to an end. Ulster play their last game of the season against Leinster in the Kingspan on Saturday and it will be the last time the Springbok lines out in the white of the northern province. 

Pienaar is a non-Irish Qualified (NIQ) player due to him being capped by South Africa and the number of NIQ players allowed to play for the Irish provincial sides is limited due to the IRFU’s policy of promoting young, Irish players.

However, when it was announced at the beginning of the season that the IRFU would not be renewing Pienaar’s contract, there was some understandable outcry regarding this.

Although encouraging Irish players to experience the highest level of professional rugby is correct – a case has to be made for a player with the experience and quality such as Pienaar.

For it’s not only the quality which he brings to the pitch but the lessons which he can give young players at the club is something which should be encouraged and in this case, perhaps that quality alone should allow him to stay on.

Of course, there are the emotional and personal aspects of his departure which can be considered difficult to take.

Pienaar has a young family who have fully embedded themselves into Belfast life since they made the move to Northern Ireland.

David Nucifora, the high-performance director for the IRFU announced at the time that “an extension to Ruan’s contract would further prevent Irish-qualified Ulster players from maximising their development potential and becoming stars for both Ulster and Ireland.”

It’s an argument which people are definitely torn on – some people agree while others do not believe it holds water.

Regardless, Pienaar is leaving, and he posted a farewell message on Ulster Rugby’s Instagram.

“The week I have been dreading the last few months is here ? my last week as an Ulster player. Thank you to everyone that’s made the last seven years so special and memorable!!! Thank you to all the players I played with, management I had the pleasure of working with and especially the supporters #extremelysad#ulstermanforlife #grateful

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter