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Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 15:43 UK

Ulster sign Springbok scrum-half Ruan Pienaar


Ulster have signed South African star, Ruan Pienaar on a two year contract

Ulster have signed Springbok scrum-half Ruan Pienaar on a two-year contract.

Pienaar, who can also play at fly-half, made his debut for South Africa in the 2006 Tri-Nations and was a member of the successful 2007 World Cup squad.

The 26-year-old will join fellow Springboks Johann Muller and BJ Botha at Ravenhill next season.

Pienaar's arrival from Natal Sharks will fill the void left at number nine by the departure of Isaac Boss to Irish provincial rivals Leinster.

It will also ease the likely loss of number eight Xavier Rush, who looks set to remain with Cardiff Blues, despite having signed to play for Ulster next season.

An Ulster rugby spokesperson said that negotiations for Pienaar's release were still ongoing with the Sharks.

Having made his Super 14 debut with the Sharks in 2005, Pienaar made his first international appearance against New Zealand in 2006.

He has won 36 caps, scoring 85 Test points to date.

"Bringing Ruan to Ulster is a massive statement of our ambition to be competing with the top teams in the Magners League and the ERC," said Ulster Rugby Operations Director David Humphreys.

"He is one of the most naturally gifted players in world rugby and having had huge international experience with the Springboks, we believe Ruan will help Ulster achieve success over the next couple of seasons."

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see also
Rush re-commits to Cardiff Blues
16 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Humphreys happy with Muller deal
03 Feb 10 |  Ulster

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