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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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Ulster's Ruan Pienaar signs for Toulon

The South African will move to France next season according to L’Equipe.

Pienaar won't be in Ulster colours next season.
Pienaar won't be in Ulster colours next season.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ruan Pienaar has signed a two-year deal with Top 14 giants Toulon, according to French daily L’Equipe.

The 29-year-old scrumhalf has decided to take up the offer from next summer, despite hopes that he would remain with Ulster.

Pienaar is the latest of South Africa’s victorious 2007 Rugby World Cup squad to join Toulon, with the likes of Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith, Bryan Habana and Danie Russouw already there.

Pienaar has been the key element in the Ulster team since joining from the Natal Sharks in 2010. He was nominated for the ERC European Player of the Year as Ulster reached the Heineken Cup final in 2012.

Toulon have been desperate to fill what they perceive as a gap in the team at scrumhalf, with Rory Kockott amongst the other names linked to Mourad Boudjellal’s club. Instead, RCT have turned to Ireland for what is another powerful statement of intent from them.

Irish rugby fans will hope that this is not a sign of things to come next season, with Conor Murray also linked to the Top 14. Whatever about the foreign stars leaving our shores, it is essential that our best home-grown talents stay where they are.

Ulster fans may be nervous about life after Pienaar, but should at least enjoy his final season at the province.

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Murray Kinsella

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