JOHANNESBURG – There was a time some 10 years ago that Ross Cronje and Ruan Pienaar were teammates at the Sharks and either played or trained alongside each other, but tomorrow in Bloemfontein they will go up against each other in the 2019 Currie Cup final. And the Sharks aren’t even involved.
Lions captain Cronje, who at 30 is five years the junior of Cheetahs No 9 Pienaar, said he was excited about going up against his former teammate. With Pienaar having played abroad, at Ulster and more recently Montpellier, since 2010, the two scrumhalves would never have opposed each other in a competitive match.
“Ruan’s a class act,” said Cronje, who’ll feature in his second Currie Cup final for the Lions since joining the Joburg team in 2012. He was Man of the Match the last time the Lions won the final, in 2015, when they beat Western Province.
“I used to play with Ruan at Sharks back in the day.
“It’s important though to not focus on individuals ... if you play the man you forget about doing the job. And that’s key for a team to be successful.”