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'I wasn't allowed to stay with Ulster any longer': Montpellier confirm three-year contract for Ruan Pienaar

Vern Cotter is assembling quite the crop of Galacticos in the south of France.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

BIG-SPENDING TOP 14 side Montpellier have confirmed they have secured the services of Ruan Pienaar on a three-year contract.

The seven-year Ulster stalwart bade a reluctant and tearful farewell to Belfast last month after the province were not permitted to renew his contract and instead moved to sign John Cooney from Connacht.

Though his move to join Vern Cotter in Montpellier has been long mooted, the reveal of the Springbok’s next destination was delayed until today. In the French club’s press release today, Pienaar discussed his affinity for the northern province.

“I was very attached to Ulster,” says Pienaar, “but I was not allowed to stay any longer, because of the IRFU rules regarding foreign players.

Still, I spent some wonderful years in Belfast, and I hope to continue the great journey that rugby offers me here in Montpellier.”

Among the new faces alongside Pienaar in the induction room at Altrad Stadium next season will be All Black out-half Aaron Cruden, France number eight Louis Picamoles and fellow ‘Bok Jan Serfontein.


Under Jake White last season, Montpellier finished third in the Top 14, losing out to Racing 92 at the Barrages stage. In the Champions Cup, they were runners up to Leinster in the pool stage, but will pose a very different threat when they meet the eastern province again in next season’s tournament.


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Sean Farrell

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