IRFU: Ruan Pienaar's departure necessary to nurture young Irish talent

Performance Director David Nucifora issued a statement today on behalf of the IRFU

David Nucifora

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The IRFU have responded to the news that Ruan Pienaar will leave Ulster at the end of the season, insisting it is critical to nurture young Irish talent to safeguard the future of Irish rugby.

News emerged this morning that the South African would be leaving the province after a new deal was unable to be reached because of the IRFU's succession policy.

"The IRFU recognises the contribution that Ruan Pienaar has made to Ulster Rugby over the seven year period he will have been with the club, however the IRFU informed Ulster Rugby during the 2015/16 season that it would not sanction a further extension of his contract," David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, said today in a statement.
 
"It is vital for both Ulster and Irish rugby that the province develop indigenous talent in this position and an extension of Ruan's contract would further prevent Irish qualified Ulster players from maximising their developmental potential and becoming stars for both Ulster and Ireland."

Pienaar had been granted two contract extensions in 2012 and 2014 but under the IRFU's policy, a further extension would not be possible.