Ulster Rugby’s Pienaar named in Springboks team

Ulster's Ruan Pienaar will start for South Africa against Irealnd
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar will start for South Africa against Irealnd

It was no surprise in-form Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar was named at scrumhalf in the South African team ahead of the opening Guinness Test match against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Pienaar - who has actually started a outhalf in both Ulster’s last PRO12 outings - has been in exceptional form and it was always expected he would start for the Boks against the Irish.

South Africa named Pat Lambie at fly-half as one of three injury-enforced changes for the clash at Aviva Stadium.

Lambie replaces Johan Goosen, who started at 10 in last month’s 32-16 Rugby Championship defeat by New Zealand in Soweto.

Wing JP Pietersen and lock Juandre Kruger replace Bryan Habana and Andries Bekker respectively, while Saracens hooker Schalk Brits features on the bench.

“I’m excited to see what Pat can bring to the team,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said.

“He played very well in the last few weeks of the Absa Currie Cup and hopefully he can bring that momentum with him on Saturday.

“It’s also good to have JP back. He’s had a great season and will want to finish the season on a high.

“At lock there has been strong competition for the number five jersey all season and now Juandre gets an opportunity again.”

South Africa: Z Kirchner (Blue Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), J Taute (MTN Golden Lions), J de Villiers (Western Province, capt), F Hougaard (Blue Bulls), P Lambie (Sharks), R Pienaar (Ulster), T Mtawarira (Sharks), A Strauss (Cheetahs), J du Plessis (Sharks), E Etzebeth (Western Province), J Kruger (Blue Bulls), F Louw (Bath), W Alberts (Sharks), D Vermeulen (Western Province).

Replacements: S Brits (Saracens), CJ van der Linde (Golden Lions), P Cilliers (Golden Lions), F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), M Coetzee (Sharks), M Steyn (Blue Bulls), J de Jongh (Western Province), L Mvovo (Sharks).