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September date pencilled in for Pienaar Ulster arrival

Springbok Ruan Pienaar will officially become an Ulsterman on September 1.

He is currently with the South African squad competing in the Tri-Nations tournament.

Even though his Ulster contract comes into effect on the first day of September, he will be available for the Springboks if chosen for the final on September 4.

The signing of a world class player equally at home at number nine or 10 is a significant statement of intent as they prepare to launch a serious assault on both the Magners League and the Heineken Cup.

David Humphreys, Ulster Rugby Operations Director, is thrilled to have concluded the contract negotiations.

“I would like to thank Natal Sharks for their help and co-operation and for agreeing to to Ruan’s early release from his Shark’s contract.

“He is without question one of the biggest signings in the history of Ulster Rugby and I’m certain he will be a huge asset to us both on and off the field.”

The player himself is equally excited about his move to Ravenhill.

“It’s a whole new adventure for me and when the chance came along to move to Northern Ireland I just jumped at such an opportunity.”

Pienaar is good friends with his former Sharks team mate Johann Muller, who arrived in Belfast at the beginning of July.

“I made my decision to join up with Ulster knowing that Johann and his family are already here so I've been talking with them and getting up to speed.

“I know from speaking with David Humphreys that Ulster are very ambitious and serious about going out and winning trophies and that’s something I want to be very much a part of.”

Confirmation of Pienaar’s release date and his subsequent arrival in Belfast ensures that Ulster’s squad for the coming season is now complete, with the arrival of three quality South Africans in Pienaar (left), Johann Muller and Pedrie Wannenburg.

As part of their ongoing preparations for the season ahead, Brian McLaughlin’s men will play three pre-season friendlies next month, two of those at Ravenhill and a third against London Harlequins on Saturday August 21.

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