South Africa
Ruan Pienaar ruled out of Springboks tour of Europe
November 4, 2014
South Africa's Ruan Pienaar is carried from the pitch, New Zealand v South Africa, Rugby Championship, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, September 13, 2014
Ruan Pienaar has failed to recover sufficiently from his knee injury © Getty Images
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Ruan Pienaar has been ruled out of South Africa's tour of Europe, the scrum-half failing to recover from a knee ligament problem ahead of the Springboks' opening Test against Ireland.

Pienaar has been sidelined since he sustained the injury playing for the Springboks in their 14-10 defeat by New Zealand in Wellington in September. The veteran of 80 Tests has been replaced in the squad by Jano Vermaak.

"Ruan was re-assessed on Tuesday morning following the on-field fitness tests from Monday, and unfortunately he has developed some swelling and puffiness around the knee, indicating that he is not yet ready to partake in full training and playing in a match," Springboks team doctor Craig Roberts said in a statement. "He needs a few more weeks of rehabilitation before he'll be ready to return to play and hence we've taken the decision to rule him out of the tour."

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said "we'll miss his experience, especially when it comes to playing rugby in the northern hemisphere, but luckily Jano knows our structures and should not have a problem to slot back in".

"The decision to bring in Jano was because he is familiar with our structures and is also very experienced, especially since Cobus Reinach is still in his first season of Test rugby," Meyer said. "There are a number of good young [scrum-halves] in South Africa, but to bring someone in who has not yet trained with us in a pivotal position … would've been a risk."

After Ireland, the Springboks play 2015 World Cup hosts England at Twickenham on November 15 and Italy in Padova on November 22 before rounding off their tour against Wales at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff a week later.

© AAP

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