Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
24 May 2022
4:26 pm

Why Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar opted to play another year for the Cheetahs

Ross Roche

Question marks had been hanging over the heads of the duo, with other contract offers and retirement on the table, however both have now pledged their future to the Free State side.

Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar have both decided to extend their contracts at the Cheetahs for another year. Picture: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

The Cheetahs received a massive boost on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that star players Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar had signed on to stay at the Bloemfontein based franchise for another year.

Question marks had been hanging over the heads of the duo, with other contract offers and retirement on the table, however both have now pledged their future to the Free State side.

ALSO READ: Frans Steyn, you can never ignore him

“It is a joyous day. Frans and Ruan have signed to stay until the end of next year and we are absolutely delighted to have both these players in our team,” said Cheetahs CEO Ross van Reenen.

“Ruan as you know is our captain and has been the anchor of the team for a long time and Frans is the general at the back, making sure things are happening, while disrupting our opponents.

“They inspire our younger players and I am strongly of the belief that a lot of our younger players have stayed because of these two guys and I just want to say thank you to both Frans and Ruan for staying another year.”

The 35-year-old Steyn had been heavily linked with a big money move to Japan, with a number of massive offers on the table, however with him set to be a large part of the Springboks plans leading into the 2023 World Cup, he has decided he is happy to stay in Bloemfontein.

“I just think it’s a special time here and I am enjoying it at the moment. I would like to still be a part of the Cheetahs and what’s going on here, so that’s the main reason,” said Steyn.

“I think we have achieved a lot with this group. They haven’t been together for five or six years and winning trophies doesn’t happen overnight, so we just need to keep working hard and hopefully we can keep moving forward.”

Another year left

For 38-year-old Pienaar, a possible retirement was on the cards with the scrumhalf having played a lot of rugby this past season, including on loan for the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship, however he decided he still has at least another year left in him.

“I think I am too old to go anywhere. But as Frans said this is a special place at the moment. So the main reason is the family is settled, I am enjoying my time in Bloemfontein and we are really trying to build something special,” said Pienaar.

“There is still a lot of hard work to do and a lot of things that need to be done here, but we have the right people to steer us in that direction and hopefully we will grow as a team and just get better.”