Succession policy factored into Pienaar's deal
RUAN PIENAAR'S two-year contract extension with Ulster has been factored in under the IRFU's new Player Succession Policy, with Munster and Leinster understood to have been aware of the deal.
Under the Union's recruitment directives to be introduced for the 2013-14 season, the three provinces will only be allowed one non-Irish qualified (NIE) player between them in each of the 15 positions.
Thus, the South African's recapture by Ulster until the end of that season suggests he will be the designated NIE scrum-half among the three provinces in 2013/14. Leinster, through Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss, and Munster, with Conor Murray and Tomas O'Leary, already have Ireland international scrum-halves on their books and this would have been considered by the IRFU before agreeing Pienaar's extension.
Under the new directive, Pienaar's contract will not be extended after 2014 and a NIE player will not be allowed as his replacement.
The Springbok has the ability to play in a number of positions along the backline and is expected to be named at out-half for Ulster's Heineken Cup clash with Leicester in Ravenhill tomorrow night. However, Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys indicated yesterday that they see Pienaar primarily as a scrum-half as he also welcomed the re-signing of Pienaar's back-up No9, Paul Marshall, on a two-year deal.
"We have been negotiating to retain Ruan since the summer and are delighted that he has chosen to extend his contract with us," said Humphreys. "He has been instrumental in the team's success since joining us in 2010 -- a true match-winner."