Cape Town - Fit-again Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar is happy to be back in action after three months on the sidelines.
RESULTS AND FIXTURES FROM THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP
The 30-year-old made a winning return for his Irish club, Ulster, in a European Champions Cup game at the weekend.
Pienaar scored a try as Ulster beat Welsh team Scarlets 24-9 to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Pienaar had been out of action since he injured his knee ligaments in a Test against New Zealand in Wellington in September. It also saw him miss the Springboks' year-end tour to Europe.
He received a standing ovation from Ulster fans when he left the field after receiving a yellow card in the 76th minute.
While Pienaar was happy with his first performance back, he admitted he has lots to work on. “It was really nice to get back playing again after three months; it was nice to get 76 minutes before the yellow card and it was nice to get a run out. Obviously there is a lot to work on fitness-wise and also I was a bit rusty in some areas but, all in all, I was pleased to play,” he told The Irish Times.
“I’m always hard on myself and I know I made a lot of mistakes. Service-wise, I probably gave a couple of bad passes and made a couple of wrong decisions. Hopefully I will be sharper over the next couple of weeks.”
Pienaar's return will please Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who has shown a liking to the former Sharks No 9 during his time as national coach.
Fourie du Preez is Meyer's preferred scrumhalf and he should be back in action next season after missing a large part of 2013 with an ankle injury, while Pienaar and either Francois Hougaard or Cobus Reinach could be the other scrumhalves in Meyer's squad for next year's Rugby World Cup.