Former Bok Ruan Pienaar looking forward to coaching role

Former Bok Ruan Pienaar looking forward to coaching role

Cheetahs veteran Ruan Pienaar is looking forward to giving back to rugby as a coach in the very near future. 

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner has enjoyed incredible longevity in his professional career, which began 20 years ago at the Sharks in Durban. Pienaar's journey took him to Ireland and France before finally returning to his roots at the Cheetahs in 2019, where he has been a revelation.

But having turned 40 in March, Pienaar is finally putting plans in place for his exit from the game. 

However, the scrumhalf is not leaving altogether. Speaking to former Boks Juan de Jong and Rudy Paige on their Behind the Ruck podcast on Thursday, one of Bloemfontein's favourite sons confirmed his intentions to move into coaching.

"I would love to give coaching a go," said Pienaar.

"I've helped with Grey College U15 and I must say I really enjoy going there and working with the youngsters. I love rugby and I would love to give something back to the game that has given me so much.

"For me, to get the chance to give something back, will be great. But again, I know it's going to be a different challenge if I get the opportunity. I'm nervous, but I'm looking forward to it.

"[I'd like to coach] the skills side of it. I like to see guys grow as players. Passing, and kicking, I think that's probably the two things that I really enjoy the most.

"As you get to the end of your career, you see how coaches react to certain things: disappointments, losses, wins¦ and you try and learn from it.

"I've already learned a lot working with the U15s at Grey College. I've learned a lot about myself, how to handle things, how to get the best out of them.

"It is stressful. At least I'm grey and I've lost my hair!"

Pienaar has thoroughly enjoyed his twilight years as a player, proving he can still compete with young talent as he marshalled the Cheetahs troops with aplomb. He helped the franchise to another Currie Cup title last year, also picking up the Currie Cup Player of the Year accolade. 

"It's good to hang up the boots now, the pace just isn't there anymore," admitted the former Grey College student. 

"My body still feels alright, though the knees are a little sore for the first five or ten steps in the morning.

"The last two months put me in a place where I've made peace with it. I know it's time. I've had a long career, I've been fortunate with injuries. Maybe because I played No.9, I don't take as much contact.

"I look back now and I've got great memories and friends. The one thing I'm going to miss is all the banter and nonsense you talk in the changerooms." 

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