Ulster Star Reveals Players Annoyed At IRFU’s Decision To Release Ruan Pienaar
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They’re not the only ones annoyed.
Ruan Pienaar played his final game for Ulster this past weekend with a win over rivals Leinster. The South African scrumhalf has been forced to leave after seven seasons with the northern province.
The inspirational nine was refused the opportunity to finish his career with Ulster after the IRFU made it clear that he must move on as a result of their succession policy. Pienaar has admitted that being forced to uproot his young family has made the IRFU’s decision to end his time in Belfast all the more difficult to stomach. At 32 years of age, his next contract is likely to be his last.
Speaking after the Leinster game, Ulster centre Marshall paid tribute to the departing South African and revealed his and the rest of the Ulster player’s frustration with the IRFU’s controversial decision.
“As players, we’re annoyed,” said Marshall.
“We don’t understand the decision, to be honest. I suppose we can’t air our frustrations too much against our employers, but I can totally understand the supporters’ feelings.
“Our inconsistencies as a team, coupled with losing a big player. You see how loyal those fans are, a dead-rubber game and it’s still a sell-out crowd. They’re incredible. Certainly for me that’s one thing that’s been difficult this season, seeing the supporters frustrated and knowing at times that we let them down.
“That’s not the intention, we’re going 100% each week, but we’re certainly determined to get some silverware for them to reward that loyalty.”
Marshall stressed just how big of an influence Pienaar has been.
“When we signed Ruan, where we were as a team, the team lifted,” said Marshall.
“You look at how the young guys came on with him. It’s hard to ignore Paddy Jackson, playing by his side, who is now a world-class out-half.
“Myself, I’m not playing right beside him, but he’s had a massive impact on my career and various other guys who are coming through.”
Something tells us the IRFU will never be forgiven for this one.