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VIDEO: Why Ruan Pienaar is the first name in Frans Steyn's World XV

The Cheetahs will lose more than just a good player when Ruan Pienaar plays his 85th and final game for the Cheetahs on Friday.


Pienaar, 40, will end his playing career in front of family and friends at Shimla Park on Friday – when the Cheetahs host Griquas in a SA Cup match in Bloemfontein.

It will bring the curtain down on a career that started with the Cheetahs – before a move to the Sharks in 2004 – and included stints with Ulster, Montpellier and finally the Cheetahs … again.

Born and schooled (Grey College) in Bloemfontein, Pienaar played 350 first-class games.

Now add his 88 Test caps and you understand why the Springbok achieved legendary status as a player.

Frans Steyn, another Cheetahs and Springbok legend forced to retire with a career-ending knee injury last year, has little doubt about what will be the first name on the team sheet if he were to select a World XV.

Steyn has been roommates with Pienaar on numerous Springbok tours and international ventures.


He played 300 first-class games for the Sharks, Cheetahs, Racing Métro 92, Montpellier and Brave Lupus, to go with his 78 Tests since 2006.

Frans Steyn mini bio

Steyn said Friday would indeed be a sad day.

“South Africa has had some great players through the years and I don’t think Ruan always got the credit he deserved.


“If I have to select a World XV, his name will be one of the first I put down.”

Asked which position he would select Pienaar at – a player who has featured at No.9, No.10 and No.15 for the Springboks – Steyn had no hesitation: “Scrumhalf, no doubt!”

He said Pienaar’s paramount characteristic is that he ‘hates’ losing.

“He hates it [losing] more than I do.

“He also stresses before a game.

“However, on the field, he can read the game well.

“It is not often that you have a No.9 that is allround as accomplished as he is – passing, kicking and his vision.

“If he kicks left he anticipates where the return kick will come.”

(WATCH as two-time World Cup-winning Springbok Frans Steyn reveals what is the most enduring characteristic of retiring Springbok legend Ruan Pienaar….)

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The Steyn-Pienaar duo has left their mark on the game at various levels – from the domestic scene to the international stage.

They have done so individually and as a combination.

“We have come a long way together,” Steyn said, adding: “He is an awesome human being and if he tells me I have messed up then I will go have a long, hard look in the mirror.”

While their ‘friendship’ continues in the Cheetahs sept-up – as a coach and administrator – Steyn said he just hopes they can make a success of it.

“This is a funny sport,” the 37-year-old said.

“Maybe they just us away in three months,” he quipped.

“We want to do good for the Cheetahs, Bloemfontein and the Free State.

“It is not about achieving personal glories, we want to do good for the Cheetahs and Free State.

“There are no ulterior motives.

“It is the love we have for this place.”


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