Planet Rugby

Pienaar relishing Sarries rematch

19th January 2014 09:28

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Ruan Pienaar v Leicester

Ulster hero: Ruan Pienaar

Ulster hero Ruan Pienaar expressed his delight in securing a home Heineken Cup quarter-final with Saturday's win over Leicester.

Pienaar scored all 22 points in Ulster's historic victory at Welford Road which saw them finish as top seeds with a 100 percent record and set up a home play-off at Ravenhill against eighth seeds Saracens in April - a rematch of last year's quarter-final at Twickenham, which the English club won 27 - 16.

History is not necessarilty on Ulster's side. Nine sides have previously completed the group stages with a perfect record, but none has gone on to win the title.

But a home quarter final - Ulster's first since 1998 - is certainly a step towards reclaiming the title they last won in the same year.

"I'm not superstitious," replied the Springbok scrum-half when asked about the 'Heineken Cup curse'.

"All eight teams that are through are very tough no matter where you play them. We're thankful that it's going to be at Ravenhill because we've got great support there.

"The stadium is looking great at the moment, but no matter who we face it's going to be tough. We'll keep working hard, keep our feet on the ground and, hopefully, we can progress further."

For the second successive week, Pienaar picked up the man of the match award in a game where he scored all his team's points, but he hailed the performance of his forward pack.

"We knew it was going to be tough. The forwards played outstandingly well, I think we controlled the game pretty well with our kicking game," said the South African.

"It was a massive team effort and hats off to everyone. We knew it was going to be a tough one, it wasn't pretty but we managed to get the result in the end.

"Our defence wasn't too great last week against Montpellier so we had to make a massive step up. Once again I must say how impressive the forwards were today. They made a couple of massive hits, it was just a great team effort.

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