Cheetahs boss hails Ruan Pienaar, ready to settle score with Pumas
The Cheetahs will take on the defending champions from last year, the Pumas, in the final this coming weekend.
Ruan Pienaar slotted eight kicks in the Cheetahs’ win against the Bulls in the Currie Cup semi-final. Picture: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has hailed the performance of veteran playmaker Ruan Pienaar after the 39-year-old steered the Bloemfontein-based team into the Currie Cup final on Saturday.
With Pienaar at No 10, the Cheetahs beat the Bulls 39-10 in their semi-final and they will now face the Pumas in this weekend’s final.
The Pumas, the defending champions from last year, shocked the Sharks in Durban on Saturday to qualify for their second straight final appearance.
But it was the Cheetahs’ Pienaar who stole the show in the semi-finals. The regular scrumhalf slotted in at flyhalf, as he has done on occasion this season, and helped his team completely dominate the Bulls.
His excellent out-of-hand kicking and his eight successful shots at goal (two conversions and six penalties) proved the big difference in the match.
“Ruan was unbelievable today,” beamed coach Fourie after the match.
“It’s quite something that he is able to still play so well at his age (39). He is so committed … he chases after balls, he doesn’t shy away from tackling, like others might do … he’s just so competitive, and that’s why he is so good.
“We saw the best of Ruan Pienaar today.”
Final against Pumas
Fourie and the Cheetahs will now get a chance to make up for losing to the Pumas in Bloemfontein in the semi-finals last season.
“I’m relieved to be in thee final,” said Fourie. “It took me a long time to get over the loss against the Pumas in the semis last year … and only now do I feel I’m over it.
“But, the Pumas will be a big test in the final, they’re a dangerous team on attack and can score tries from anywhere. They’re a physical side and it’s difficult to get momentum against them … but we’ve got a score to settle with them.”
Saturday’s final will kick off at 4pm.