Ruan Pienaar is hoping to add some silverware to his new three year contract at Ravenhill.
It’s been quite a few weeks for the Springbok scrum half, he played in the Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks and penned a new deal to stay at Ulster until 2017.
“It’s nice to know where you’re going to spend the next few years and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds here at Ulster with Ravenhill undergoing a huge transformation since I’ve be gone and it exciting to see all the changes, I’m happy with my decision and looking forward to it,” said Pienaar.
“The support that I have been given on and of the field since I arrived here a couple of years ago has been fantastic and that has meant a lot to me and my family and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to extend my time here and hopefully there will be some good years ahead.
“The Rugby Championship was good and I think South Africa made a lot of progress as a team and there is still a couple of things to work on but overall I think the guys will be satisfied but disappointing not to get the win at Ellis Park which was a great game to be a part of but I’m happy to be back here now.”
Pienaar was happy with the victory over the Tigers but knows if Ulster are to progress they need to be more clinical.
“I think the guys created a couple of nice opportunities but we probably left a couple of tries out there, going forward those are opportunities we’ll need to finish and it is something that is something that we have spoke about at the beginning of the week, against Montpellier you need to finish your opportunities because there won’t be too many so hopeful we can be more accurate.
Without half Paddy Jackson hitting a purple patch Pienaar is happy to let him continue the kicking duties in France on Saturday.
“Paddy has been kicking well and I’m happy for him, I think he’ll continue this weekend and he has been working hard on it, I’m sure I’ll have to start training hard now and hopefully I’ll get a chance sometime soon.”
It’s Ulster’s first trip to the Stade Yves du Manoir and Pienaar knows it’s currently one of the toughest assignments in European rugby.
“Any French side you have to play over there is tough, with the start they have had in the Top14 where they are leaders and they’ve beaten Clermont convincingly, it’s going to be a massive challenge for us but the guys are looking forward to it and that is why you play rugby but we’re keen to play well.
It will be Pienaar’s first encounter against rising French scrum half Jonathan Pelissie who came off the bench to inspire Montpellier against Treviso last weekend.
“I haven’t played against him and this will be the first time I’ve seen him this year, he has been in brilliant form and is a great player, he is important for Montpellier as he is the guy that gets everything going and he is one of the players that we will need to look out for.”
“He is quick around the rucks, he has a good kicking game and we’ll definitely show him the respect he deserves.”
Ulster got their first win on French soil last season at Castres.
“I think the guys are excited and getting the bogey off our backs last year was big step in the right direction, we’ll look to prepare well, analyse them well and hopefully we can be more accurate and precise in what we do.”
“As a squad we’re going out there to win and that is our sole aim. We’ll try not to settle for anything less and if not to get a losing bonus point would be fantastic but this squad is good enough to go and challenge them.”
“It is not going to be easy they have a great team, brilliant squad and have been playing well and it will be tough challenge.”
Pienaar is another player that doesn’t want to see the Heineken Cup scrapped.
“It’s been great fun to be part of a competition like that, I’ve really enjoyed the Heineken Cup and all the teams have added so much to it and given the fans a lot of great games, it would be sad if those teams aren’t involved again but I’m sure there is a long way to go before that happens and for us as players we’ll stay involved in a great competition.”