Cheetahs Legend Ruan Pienaar to Retire and Transition to Coaching Role

Springbok legend Ruan Pienaar retires from playing, joins Cheetahs as backline and attack coach, bridging the gap between juniors and seniors.

Salman Khan
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Cheetahs Legend Ruan Pienaar to Retire and Transition to Coaching Role

Cheetahs Legend Ruan Pienaar to Retire and Transition to Coaching Role

Ruan Pienaar, the legendary Springbok scrumhalf and Toyota Cheetahs captain, has announced his decision to retire from playing rugby and transition into a coaching role within the Cheetahs organization. The 40-year-old veteran, who has earned 88 Test caps for South Africa, will officially hang up his boots after the conclusion of the 2024 SA Cup in South Africa.

Pienaar will join the Free State U21 and Toyota Academy coaching staff as their new backline and attack coach, bringing his wealth of experience and knowledge to the development of young talent in the Free State region. "Ruan will be the bridge between the juniors and seniors, and his role will be to further improve the skill set needed in the way the Toyota Cheetahs wants to play," stated Cheetahs COO MJ Smith.

Despite his new coaching duties, Pienaar will continue to play for the Cheetahs in the SA Cup series, with his final game expected to be against Griquas on May 17. The SA Rugby U21 Cup is set to kick off on May 3, and the Free State team will face the Lions at Emirates Airline Park.

Pienaar expressed his excitement about the new challenge, saying, "I am excited about the role and the challenge of learning. It is an opportunity for me to give back to the game that made me a Springbok legend." He will act as a bridge between the junior and senior teams, nurturing unity and preparing the next generation of senior players for higher-level competition.

Why this matters:

Pienaar's remarkable playing career saw him represent the Springboks in 88 Tests, including being a part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad. He is the second Rugby World Cup-winning star to join the Cheetahs' coaching ranks, following his long-time teammate Frans Steyn, who currently serves as the Free State side's director of rugby. The Cheetahs organization is fortunate to have Pienaar in their camp, as his experience and skills are set to elevate the team's performance and prepare the next generation of players for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Ruan Pienaar, Springbok legend, to retire after 2024 SA Cup
  • Pienaar joins Cheetahs as backline and attack coach for U21 and academy
  • Pienaar to bridge gap between juniors and seniors, develop young talent
  • Pienaar's transition marks significant moment for SA rugby development
  • Cheetahs gain another World Cup winner in coaching staff with Pienaar