No 9: Deafening cry for Ruan

2010-06-07 10:54

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – If Sport24 readers were national selectors, Ruan Pienaar would romp into the Springbok No 9 jersey while seasoned first-choice Fourie du Preez is on the injury list.

GALLERY: Wales v Springboks

Now it remains to be seen whether coach Peter de Villiers and company will follow suit as the Boks prepare to name their first genuine ‘A’ team of the season to play France at Newlands on Saturday.

There were almost 7 000 respondents to our poll late last week and into the weekend, asking the key question: “With Fourie du Preez sidelined … who should start in the Springbok scrumhalf jersey?”

And versatile Sharks star Pienaar was the overwhelming main choice, commanding 41 percent of the vote even after he was employed at flyhalf with some success in the narrow 34-31 triumph over Wales in Cardiff.

Ricky Januarie, who operated at No 9 at the Millennium Stadium and had a pretty decent outing himself, remains some way down our readers’ pecking order – he had earned a meagre three percent of approval before that Test and inched up to no more than five after it.

Of course Januarie tends not to “boss” games to the extent the now-legendary Du Preez does, especially as his kicking game is more limited, but he can be extremely under-rated as the sort of combative scrumhalf who gets under opponents’ skins: he kept big Mike Phillips in check on Saturday.

Januarie also showed typical tenacity in occasionally scrapping on the deck for turnover ball, although he incurred the penalty wrath of Irish referee Alan Lewis at least twice for off-side play.

Nevertheless, the Stormers player found himself behind Pienaar and three other scrumhalves – Francois Hougaard (Bulls, 20 percent), Rory Kockott (Sharks, 13 percent) and young franchise team-mate Dewaldt Duvenage (11 percent) in voters’ picks.

The Lions’ Jano Vermaak equalled Januarie with five percent, and there was also a minor smattering of support for Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs, four percent) and the Bulls’ often-on-the-bench Heini Adams (one percent).

Hougaard placing second in the poll was interesting, considering that he has played most of his rugby this year at wing for the Super 14 champions, where he is similarly enhancing his reputation rapidly.

Clearly the majority of our Bok-supporting readers fancy Pienaar at scrumhalf with Morne Steyn back at No 10 for the tricky task against the French this weekend …


  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-06-07 10:58

    damn! it annoys me that everytime Januarie doesn't deserve to play he has an absolute Blinder and according to some of my mates at the match, he could have had MOTM himself! i still think he is a bit unfit for a proffesional scrumhalf and should go on a conditioning programme for a month or two! i would start Pienaar at 9 and have Livewire Sarel Pretorius to bring on from the bench.....and what a great effort: 7000 respondants! thats like the Maximum amount of Lions supporters in Jozi :):)

  • STORMER - 2010-06-07 11:00

    Whilst Ricky is no Fourie du Preez, he has never let the Bok side down when wearing the Green & Gold. His kicking game is poor. but he does add that 'tenacity' which can never be disregarded. Pienaar HAS to start against France though....those damn Tricolores forwards are brutal...Ricky is 2 slow (and if our scrum is under pressure....eishhhhhhhhh)

  • ROBBIE - 2010-06-07 11:10


  • Al - 2010-06-07 11:13

    Ruan is a good player but to me he seems as a rare breed of player that just does not fit into any position. As a scrumhalf he would suffice but to my mind he is too sluggish for the position. A scrummy has to be fleet footed, which Ruan is not. He won't do a bad job but he won't excel either.

  • Mike - 2010-06-07 11:21

    Pienaar before Januarie! Januarie far to slow. Sarel Pretorius would also be a brilliant choice, very nippy and reads the game well.

  • Gaz - 2010-06-07 11:25

    I think John Smit could have rebooted his computer and had a cup of tea in the time it took to throw that pass - WTF!!! To me he looks too heavy and maybe time to lose some weight. I have met him and he is a good bloke but he needs to get into shape. I agree - Ruan for number 9 although Ricky had a good game.

  • Staalburgher - 2010-06-07 11:25

    Except for his horrendous form last year no one has ever said Ricky is a bad scrumhalf. He is good and an able replacement if the need arises, but why must we settle for 'able'? We have players that will be better than 'able' at no.9, potential game-breakers, and we should use them. This is nothing against Ricky. Similar to Olivier, there have just been two great centres de Villiers and Fourie ahead of him. It is not an insult, it just is.

  • herman - 2010-06-07 11:31

    As long as the forwards dominate, Pienaar is OK, it's when they are on the back foot that Pienaar is very poor. Ricky plays well behind a losing pack - therefore HE IS MUCH BETTER!!!

  • RZ - 2010-06-07 11:31

    Januarie is too selfish and his ego precedes him. He wants all the glory for himself.

  • T-H-E-MAN - 2010-06-07 11:35

    chilli boy should be captain as jason smith is out of form and a uselss captain at best.

  • Bilbo - 2010-06-07 11:37

    I did not vote, but would give it to January. He was great on Saturday. He was instrumental in breaking the Welsh momentum time and again. Compare his work rate to that of Smit. Miles different.

  • Gert - 2010-06-07 11:38

    PLEASE!!!!!! Dont play January he only arrive at the scrum in feb and get the ball out in march. Sarel Pretorius is the man that should get the OK from PdeV

  • hasie - 2010-06-07 11:39

    Hoop dit is Ruan vir nr.9. January moet eers van die tube om sy lyf ontslae raak voor hy weer oorweeg kan word, is heeltemal te stadig, ander moet skoonmaak agter die losskrum namens hom.

  • Marcel722 - 2010-06-07 11:47

    Ruan Pienaar is the ideal Player 23 !

  • ono - 2010-06-07 11:49

    @Al. Ruan does not look like he fits in because he has been so badly messed about mainly by Piet Helium. He is the NATURAL backup for FdP. He is a born and bred scrunhalf stuffed about for affirmative action etc. Januarie's position in the polls is abour correct except that he should be way behind that Griqua's guy.

  • Ancestor - 2010-06-07 11:51

    Problem , you cant play a hooker on centre and a hooker on scrumhalf .a midget on wing and a Slow Joe as loose forward

  • Richie - 2010-06-07 11:53

    Ricky is stadig om die bal uit te bring!!! Hoekom stall die bliksem elke keer voor hy die bal pass? Anyway Rory Kockott is die beste scrum half na Fourie!!!

  • ou boet craak - 2010-06-07 11:54

    Ek neem aan dis nou omdat Januarie nie lank genoeg in die Jik gele het nie en nou is dit n probleem! Hy is beter as Ruan en verdien om daar te wees. Julle is reg - hy moet gewig verloor anders moet ons maar vir hom ook sing "Maak Da Jersey beega" Ek is n Blou Bull deur en deur maar Ricky is maar 2de beste en sal nooit so goed as du Preez en Joost wees nie!!

  • Laeveld Stormer - 2010-06-07 11:58

    I would be very excited to see any of the following no 9's in G&G: Jano Vermaak, Sarel Pretorius, Francois Hougaard, Rory Kockott. All of these guys bring tenacity and intencity to the position.... especially hougaard, kockott and pretorius. So what makes January better? And don't tell me they are not ready for Test rugby yet. If they could stick it out and perform well against the best players in the top three rugby playing nations in the world during the S14 they are ready. Younger guys need to start coming through. So Ruan plays no9 the whole season for the boks and what happens when he goes back to his franchise? back to 10? And the farce starts all over again for this poor guy.

  • Lewsi - 2010-06-07 12:03

    They have to choose Januarie, he's the quota player.

  • GL - 2010-06-07 12:04

    Shouldn't we be weaning Hougaard into the position? In my opinion he's going to be a Springbok legend. (And I am a Stormers supporter btw)

  • Province - 2010-06-07 12:05

    @Staalburgher: Very valid comment. Of greater concern is who they will pick at fullback. ZK may be passable in the Bulls team, but is otherwise clearly vrot. FS for now, with the exciting Lambey as an understudy.

  • George - 2010-06-07 12:10

    Januarie's tactical kicking was absolutely shocking and he's simply to fat for international rugby.Would love to see Pienaar at no.9.

  • keith - 2010-06-07 12:27

    Have to agree Januarie had a pretty fine game on Saturday...there is also Hougaard on the fringes and he will be a more than able replacement when Fourie goes to Japan. Morne has to be number 10 against France. There is no way Ruan can start at 10.

  • Tank - 2010-06-07 12:28

    Dit is die sharks se skuld dat Ruan nie so goed is as wat hy kan wees nie net soos B Russel neek hulle hom rond en fok sy loopbaan op. Gee hom nou die no.9 en help ie ou om weer bo te kom.

  • Joe - 2010-06-07 12:30

    I think many/most of you just dislike Januarie. Had a good game on saterday. probably would have more tackles than Spies if he played. But man.. his kicking was poor ! and takes years to pass( this is a fundamental) but damn he is like a mongrel in the tackle, something bot FDP and certainly Pienaar lack.And I agree with Stormer, has never let the Bokke down and scored a great try in Hamilton and they could not catch his fat arse!

  • Larry - 2010-06-07 12:30

    My plea to the administrators that approve the comments: Please DELETE all those that comment in AFRIKAANS, gud grief they pi$$ me off.

  • Hein - Centurion - 2010-06-07 12:32

    @T-H-E-MAN. Who in heavens name is Jason Smith?????? If you don't even know the CORRECT name of the Springbok captain, then rather stay away from commenting. Also this article got nothing to do with John Smit but with a problem relating to the scrumhalf position for the up coming test matches.

  • Matthew - 2010-06-07 12:35

    Why do people take it as a personal insult everytime Januarie plays well? Saturday again showed how he seldomly ever lets the Boks down when given the opportunity...

  • brad k - 2010-06-07 12:42

    Quota qouta qouta...its going to kill our motor!

  • Neutraal - 2010-06-07 12:47

    Januarie is there to fill up the quotas. How SAREL PRETORIUS didn't get selected is a joke ! The guy were awarded more man of the match awards in the Super 14 than anybody else. And that in a side that struggled for the most of the season. Even the Aus commentators were very impressed with him !

  • STORMER2 - 2010-06-07 12:49

    Januarie is clearly a quota pick! Pity....

  • Sparks - 2010-06-07 12:49

    Pienaar has to be the first choise scrumhalf while fourie is univailible. Hougaard is a great wing but at scrumhalf he slows the ball to much and it doesn't suit the springboks game. I would pick any of the other super 14 scrumhalfs over Hougaard even Adams.

  • @T-H-E-MAN - 2010-06-07 12:50

    Agree 100%. Chili should be captain in place of "Jason" -- for the third team of Putsonderwater. I don't know if you understand the taal, but the l=only thing I can say about your remark is: As kak praat 'n grassie was, was jy al lankal 'n donkiedrol

  • Ray - 2010-06-07 12:50

    John Smit is more valuable to the team than what the best hooker can bring to the game. He is a damn good captain... we won on Saturday and only practised 2-4 days? Ruan definitely at No 9. Cocket or Duvenhage on the bench. Ricky should watch the game from his treadmill.

  • Sparks - 2010-06-07 12:51

    Pienaar has to be the first choice scrumhalf while Fourie is unavailable. Hougaard is a great wing but at scrumhalf he slows the ball to much and it doesn't suit the springbok’s game. I would pick any of the other super 14 scrumhalf’s over Hougaard even Adams.

  • Gee - 2010-06-07 12:53

    @ T-H-E Man - what do you know their is no Jason Smith in the Bok side BUT a John Smit dahhhh and he did admit in the post match interviews on the news he had a bad day and it was a shocking pass!!

  • No way! - 2010-06-07 12:53

    Div is playing Ruan at No.10 because he is not nearly in the same league as January. Du Preez might have a good boot on him that falls within the Boks' plan, but overall January is also a far superior player (overall).

  • Ethanamok - 2010-06-07 12:56

    I thought this post was a joke or April Fool. Pienaar will "ruin" any game against a good fwd pack - he is useless and plays only on his fathers name. He only got picked at Jnr level because of his dad.He is a mouse amongst men...Pocket Rocket Kockitt would have got Sharks to semis.

  • Jaco - 2010-06-07 12:56

    Ek weet van ons afrigters dink hulle het al die rugby afrigting boeke in die wereld al verorber en ingesluk en niemand kan hulle vertel wat is die beste nie, maar ek wil net se....RUAN PIENAAR IS NOG ALTYD 'N SKRUMSKAKEL en nie 'n loskakel nie. Tot iemand wat netbal afrig kan dit raaksien. Ruan is 'n briljante plaasvervanger vir Fourie du Preez in sy afwesigheid. As hy die kans gegun word sal ons regtig sien hoe briljant hy kan wees.

  • @THE MAN - 2010-06-07 12:57

    THE MAN - you are an absolute idiot, but you probably know it anyway. Who is Jason? Sad looser.

  • hein Cent - 2010-06-07 13:08

    To Hein Centurion. The name Hein Centurion is also my other name. Please get youtself another name and stop writing in this manner. It doesnt belong to a rugby supporter

  • D the M - 2010-06-07 13:15

    Lets be honest guys, januarie will at the very least be the second choice this week; he has awful domestic form, but always seems to lift his game for the boks, and has won us a few keys games over the last few years. What will get him a place on the bench however is the fact that there arent any other capped scrumhalves around at the moment - I feel that duvenhage, s pretorius and vermaak (maybe even heini adams) are better all round scrummies, but too little experience. Hopefully pdv will give one of these guys a go in the italy match, we need to make sure we have more depth a year before the WC

  • kw - 2010-06-07 13:18

    januarie had a good game but he annoys me because he always has to take three steps before he gets rid of the ball. Always allows the opposition backline to get 2 steps ahead. As far as i'm concerned, i don't like Ruan Pienaar either. Just can't wait for du Preez to return.

  • spartikus - 2010-06-07 13:19

    I think Francois Hougaard is a good option to replace Fourie, he has pace and is actually a scrumhalf not a wing, he will add value to the team and has the x factor, Ruan Pienaar is a good option but he seems to lack confidence at the moment

  • @Larry - 2010-06-07 13:28

    Jou gat.

  • BIG DADDY - 2010-06-07 13:33

    Kocket hou Pienaar uit sy posisie uit.Duvenhage hou Januarie weer uit.Wat weet De Villiers wat ons miskyk?

  • BIG DADDY - 2010-06-07 13:35

    Kocket hou Pienaar uit sy posisie uit.Duvenhage hou Januarie weer uit.Wat weet De Villiers wat ons miskyk?

  • RK - 2010-06-07 13:38

    Pienaar for scrumhalf and maybe use January in the front row!

  • Suurpoep - 2010-06-07 13:42

    January is oorgewig en te stadig deesdae. Ek dink die Pretorius-oukie van Griekwas sal n aanwins tot die span wees. Hy gee meer opsies