Sharks

Pienaar demands a big team effort

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Sharks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar has asked for a team effort and not individualism to help turn the dream of lifting the Super 14 trophy into a reality when they meet the Bulls at ABSA Stadium on Saturday.

Durban plays host to the first ever Super rugby final to take place on South African soil. And not only that a South Africa franchise will lift the trophy for the first time since the tournament kicked off way back in 1996.

However, the level headed 22-year-old has not let the enormous occasion in South Africa’s rugby history take over the task at hand – win!

“We;re all very excited and looking forward to the game on Saturday,” Pienaar told this website.

“It’s going to be a big one and it’s definitely a huge occasion for everyone not only taking part, but watching as well.

“Though we (the players) are keen and ready.”

The Springbok number nine will certainly have to be ready for what’s waiting for him at the end of the ABSA Stadium tunnel.

Besides taking the field to a sold-out stadium, Pienaar will be lining up against either Fourie du Preez or Heinie Adams – two Bulls scrum-halves playing the best rugby of their careers.

When asked which player he would prefer to go head to head with Pienaar gave both players equal respect.

“I think both of them have played well this season,” said Pienaar.

“Each player has his own style of playing and are very different from each other.

“Obviously Fourie is a major part of the Bulls game, but Heinie has shown that he can slot in at anytime.

“But I think both of them are extremely good and dangerous players.”

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer told this website on Monday that he feels his team has the upper hand as far as experience is concerned.

Compared to some Sharks players that have only played their first Super rugby match this season, you can’t argue with him.

Yet Pienaar is adamant that his side will use the experience they do possess to their best ability and the young bloods will stand up and be counted.

“Well, I think we have lots of good experience in the forwards, especially the tight five,” said Pienaar.

“John Smit, Johan Ackermann, Johann Muller and both our props have all got plenty of Super rugby caps under their belt.

“It’s true that we have young backs, but anything can happen on the day!”

Another thing that can happen on the day is the lethal boot of Derick Hougaard. The Bulls pivot was left out of the Springbok training squad and will feel he has a point to prove to South Africa coach Jake White.

But Pienaar, just as deadly with the boot if need be, will be on a mission of his own to show the world that he can be much more than an understudy to his Bok colleague Du Preez.

Should Du Preez overcome his shoulder injury and take the field on Saturday, a mouth-watering battle looms for arguably South Africa’s top two number nines at present. (No offence to Enrico Januarie)

Pienaar, son of former Springbok full-back Gysie, has set the rugby scene alight with his infamous breaks into open spaces with a killer sidestep to go with it.

His amazing ability to absorb the pressure mounted on him and his team showed when he stepped up to kick the winning touch-line conversion against the Crusaders on full-time in week five of the competition.

The ‘Battle of Durban’ is surely set to explode before our eyes when this high quality player takes the field.

However, Pienaar’s professionalism proves me otherwise.

“I don’t think individuals will win the game,” said a modest Pienaar.

“It will certainly be a team effort and everyone will need to be on song to win this one.

“Remember that a starting line-up consists of fifteen players on the field, not just one or two.”

Enough said.

By Dave Morris 365 Digital

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