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Emotional farewell as Ruan Pienaar picks up another Ulster accolade

By Jonathan Bradley

As he picked up yet another Kingspan Player of the Month Award, departing Ulster hero Ruan Pienaar admitted it has been an emotional few weeks as he prepares to leave the province this summer.

The scrum-half bade a tearful farewell to Kingspan Stadium and its fans after helping the side to beat Leinster on the last day of the season.

He will get one more run-out in the Ulster jersey when the side take on the famous Barbarians next Thursday night but, with old friend Johann Muller and his father Gysie in attendance, he said the end of the 2016/17 campaign will live long in his memory.

"I think it was just a really emotional week the whole way through," he said.

"I'd been thinking about the day for months.

"I knew it was going to be a sad occasion, I knew I was going to be emotional.

"You're almost relieved it's over now because it's been on my mind for so many months but it was nice to end on a win.

"For the whole family, to have Johann here and my Dad here, to see what it meant to them too was great. For me, Monique and the kids, it was an emotional day but also a special day because of the support we got."

Pienaar wasn't the only one in his last game for the side, with Roger Wilson also calling it a day after a record 221 games for his native province.

"To share it with Roger as well made it extra special and you could see the way the people supported the whole day," Pienaar added.

"You could see what it meant to me and Roger. He's had a terrific career and I suppose at least I have a few more years playing. For me it's just sort of a goodbye but for him it's the end so it was great to get the support that we've been used to for years.

"Obviously it's a big privilege and I'm really thankful for all the support in an up and down season."

Belfast Telegraph


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