Wednesday 26 July 2017

Pienaar still has so much to offer Irish rugby - on and off the field

Ruan Pienaar. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruan Pienaar. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportdesk

On Sunday evening at the Guinness Pro12 Awards in the St James' Gate Storehouse, the award for the Independent.ie Try of the Year went to team Ulster, specifically to the man who started the move and finished it off, Ruan Pienaar.

The brilliant Ulster scrum-half was the only winner of the nine awards not in attendance, and one can only speculate as to why.

Bag-packing is of course the most obvious reason but whatever the circumstance this brilliant servant to Ulster - and by extension Irish - rugby can be forgiven if he had little appetite for celebrating the end of the Pro12 season.

However polished the attempt to dress it up, showing the exit to a man who has so much still to offer on and off the pitch is wrong - period.

The Annual Fundraising Crystal Ball for the Make-A-Wish-Foundation takes place in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road on Saturday.

Irish mural artist Neil O'Dwyer has donated a painting in celebration of Ireland beating the All Blacks in Soldier Field in Chicago. This unique work has been signed by the starting players from that day, plus Joe Schmidt, and is the only one in existence.

A similar painting by the same artist celebrating Munster's win over New Zealand raised in excess of €12,000.

For the first time it is possible to place bids ahead of this year's auction. Full information may be had through https://makeawish.ie/crystal-ball-auction-may-2017/

Irish Independent

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