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Pro14

Pienaar Makes PRO 14 Return

Ruan Pienaar will be playing PRO 14 rugby once again next season

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Former Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar will make a return to the PRO 14 next season after signing a two-year deal with the Cheetahs.

The 88-cap Springbok left his Montpellier contract a year earlier than expected and there was rumour among fans that a return to Belfast might be on the cards.

However, the Toyota Cheetahs have confirmed that the scrum-half will be continuing his career with them.

“The skilful player represented the Springboks in 88 test matches. Ruan experience in Guinness PRO14 will be valuable for the Toyota Cheetah as he represented the Irish side from Belfast in 141 matches between 2010 and 2017. Pienaar was named at scrum-half in the Magners League Team of the Year for the 2010/11 season and also scooped the Magners League player of the Year award which was voted for by his peers. Pienaar was again selected at scrum-half for the RaboDirect Pro12 Dream Team for the 2011/12 season and was also named captain of the side,” a club statement read.

Pienaar will bring plenty of experience with him as the statement mentions, having played for the Sharks 32 times in the Currie Cup and 67 times in Super Rugby before his move to Ireland.

During his stay with Ulster he became a fan-favourite and played in their 2012 Heineken Cup final defeat to Leinster as well as their 2013 PRO 12 defeat to the same opposition.

The Cheetahs will be hoping that he can recreate some of his best form once more and provide them with a spark that they lacked at times last season.

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Pro14

Ulster Rugby star suffers pre-season ACL tear

9 months out.

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Not the news that any Ulster fans want.

Another new signing struck down by injury before the season has even started.

Gareth Milasinovich who joined the province from Worcester Warriors was struck down in the last couple of weeks with an ACL tear that will see him on the sidelines for approximately 9 months.

Ulster Rugby fans have become accustomed to similar situations over the last number of seasons with many new exciting signings being struck down very early into their Ulster careers with ‘big’ injuries’.

Jared Payne ruptured an achilles tendon very early in his Ulster career and other big-name casualties include Marcel Coetzee and Jean Dysell who also suffered ACL injuries in their opening seasons with Ulster Rugby.

We wish Gareth a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him and the other new recruits at Ulster on the field really soon.

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Pro14

Cheetahs Make Four More Signings

After announcing the arrival of Ruan Pienaar last week the Cheetahs have added a further four players to their squad for next season

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(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Free State Cheetahs have confirmed the signings of four more players ahead of the 2019/20 PRO14 season. 

Only last week they announced the signing of veteran scrum-half Ruan Pienaar but he will be joined at the club by Rhyno Smith, Chris Massyn, Chris Smit and Wilmar Arnoldi.

Smith currently plays for the Sharks and is a utility back who was on loan with the Cheetahs last season but has now made his switch permanent with a three-year contract.

Massyn on the other hand is a loose forward most frequently used as a flanker. The 25-year-old led the University of Stellenbosch Maties to the 2019 Varsity Cup and has signed a two-year deal.

Smit also claimed victory in the 2019 Varsity Cup and was named player of the tournament before signing for Griquas. He plays as a centre usually but can also play at fly-half if needed and joins on a two-year contract.

Hooker Arnoldi is also coming in from Griquas on another two-year contract.

All four will join up with the squad after finishing the Currie Cup campaign with their respective provinces, but things are certainly looking on the up heading into the new season for the Cheetahs.

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Premiership

Worcester Coach on the Move

Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan could be set to leave the club very soon according to reports

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(Photo by Ashley Crowden - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan has been given permission to speak to other clubs according to reports in the Worcester News. 

The news outlet claim that they have been informed by the club that they do not see Duncan as a part of their future plans.

“The club has put in place a strategic plan for the future of Warriors. We do not envisage Rory Duncan being part of those plans and, therefore, we have given Rory permission to seek opportunities elsewhere,” a club spokesperson said

Duncan has impressed with stints at the Cheetahs and the Warriors, and a return to the Cheetahs looked to be on the cards until the club announced Hawies Fourie as their new coach.

However, the Southern Kings are currently looking for a new head coach and Duncan is among a four-man list of coaches being considered for the position, with Steve Jackson, Corniel van Zyl and Pieter de Villiers being the others.

Duncan has experience with the Kings having played two Currie Cup seasons with them before his retirement from playing.

Both the Warriors and the Kings open up their respective campaigns for the 2019/20 season in September and one would imagine they will want a quick resolution if he is to depart for South Africa once again.

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