Ulster Rugby ha confermato oggi che Ruan Pienaar lascerà la Province al termine della stagione che prenderà il via il prossimo fine settimana.
La nota pubblicata sul sito della Province di Belfast non lascia spazio a molti dubbi sui motivi dell’addio del mediano di mischia sudafricano, diventato uno dei simboli della squadra. “The club and the player were very keen for him to extend his stay in Belfast, with Operations Director Bryn Cunningham and Director of Rugby Les Kiss working with the IRFU over the past six months to reach a desirable outcome. Unfortunately, a contract extension was not possible due to the IRFU’s succession policy.”
La IRFU ha emesso un comunicato stampa in cui chiarisce la sua posizione nella vicenda, con le parole di David Nucifora, performance director della federazione irlandese: “(…) The IRFU recognises the contribution that Ruan Pienaar has made to Ulster Rugby over the seven year period he will have been with the Club, however the IRFU informed Ulster Rugby during the 2015/16 season that it would not sanction a further extension of his contract.
It is vital for both Ulster and Irish rugby that the province develop indigenous talent in this position and an extension of Ruan’s contract would further prevent Irish qualified Ulster players from maximising their developmental potential and becoming stars for both Ulster and Ireland.”
Pienaar ha marcato 777 punti in 118 presenze con la maglia biancorossa di Ulster, raggiungendo come massimo traguardo la finale di Heineken Cup del 2012 – persa a Twickenham contro Leinster.
Pienaar, al sito ufficiale della Province, ha ribadito il suo attaccamento alla squadra: “I am not moving on for a new adventure or for financial reasons – I wanted to stay and I know that Ulster Rugby did everything it could to keep me in Belfast. Ulster is special to me and my family now, and I would like to thank my wife, Monique, for coming here to support me and for helping to make it home for us. (…) I have many great memories of my time here and I have made some brilliant friends within rugby and outside of it. It is sad that this will be my last season as an Ulster player but I will be doing everything to ensure that we make it a successful campaign.”