Pienaar could make Scarlets double-header

Ulster’s star scrum-half Ruan Pienaar could be back for their European Champions Cup games against the Scarlets at the start of December.

While the weekend clash with Munster will come too early for Pienaar, Ulster team manager Bryn Cunningham believes the South African could be back for Ulster’s must-win European Champions Cup clashes with the Welsh region.

Cunningham says the Springbok star — who missed the international clash with Ireland — is under assessment and could make his return next month.

“They are still assessing his rehabilitation at the moment but he is doing very well and he personally is very positive about coming back,” said Cunningham.

“From a selfish point of view, I’m glad he had that rest during the autumn internationals and that will give him the opportunity to come back 100%.”

Cunningham believes the high intensity of the modern game is resulting in a lot of injuries being racked up by clubs.

“To a large extent, it’s now the nature of the game. There is greater intensity to it, greater intensity to training as well as match nights. People are getting bigger and more physical. Most teams are the same.

“There are very few teams at this stage of the season not carrying injuries. But we have got very good staff here who are able to mend them, put them back together again and get them out on the pitch 100% ready.”

Cunningham, a former Ireland A full-back and a 1999 European Cup winner with Ulster, says his life is now changed as he turns from being a player agent to sitting on the other side of the table.

“It has been a bit of a baptism of fire, but very enjoyable,” he said.

“It’s a challenging role, but definitely it is what I want to be doing right now,” said Cunningham who believes his most important remit is getting a strong squad together.

Looking to the future and in terms of acquiring big names for Ulster, Cunningham doesn’t see that as a problem.

“We have a lot to offer here,” he said. “Kingspan is a wonderful stadium, the facilities are second to none, so for the environment point of view it is top class, and in the players’ facilities they have the best available along with the best staff.

“In terms of developing they have everything laid on for them.”


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