Rugby Championship

Div: Pienaar most gifted Bok

2014-09-25 13:43
Ruan Pienaar (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says Ruan Pienaar was the most naturally gifted player he ever coached.

READ: Peter de Villiers chats to Sport24

Pienaar is out for the remainder of the Rugby Championship with a knee injury and while his form at scrumhalf was not always at an acceptable standard, he has received high praise from the former Bok coach.

De Villiers, in an exclusive interview with Sport24, answered "Yes" to the question if Pienaar was the most naturally gifted player he ever had the privilege of coaching.

"When Ruan played for the Springboks when I was coach, we normally scored three or more tries per match. He had the ability to create space, read the game and put other people into play," said De Villiers.

However, the former Bok mentor feels that scrumhalf was not Pienaar's best position.

"I regret the fact that I had a hand in damaging the career of the one player that I thought would make it big in world rugby. I felt he was best suited to play flyhalf, while then Sharks coach John Plumtree maintained that scrumhalf was his best position. The player was then caught between the devil and the deep blue sea."

De Villiers, 57, coached the Springboks between 2008 and 2011 and is the current Director of Rugby at the University of the Western Cape.



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