‘I pray for the other players on the pitch’

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Prayer is an integral part of Pienaar’s daily life, both on and off the pitch.

‘‘As I run on the pitch I normally pray for protection and guidance to be with us during the game. I also pray for all the other players on the pitch.’’

During his career he has received injuries and 
disappointments like every other player in the Ulster squad, but credits his faith with helping him survive in professional rugby.

‘‘I find the way I handle disappointments is a lot different now than when I was younger, when rugby almost took over and my day was really measured on how I performed at training and on the weekends how I played. If it didn’t go well then I would have been the grumpiest guy in the world, whereas now you know you get disappointments, you get 
games like that, but you’ve got to move on.’’

In October 2013 despite strong media reports linking him with Toulon, Pienaar signed a new three year extension to his Ulster contract keeping him in Belfast until the end of the 2016/17 season. He says his faith played a big part in that decision.

‘’I had other offers, but I just felt peace that this is where I need to be and belong at this stage in my life and with that I’ve really enjoyed it, so at the end it was a fairly easy decision for me

to make.

‘’Everyone is really nice over here. We’ve really 
enjoyed our time and I 
will leave here one day with fond memories.’’