Campo rates Ruan

Sharks skills coach David Campese believes Ruan Pienaar is going to become one of the great South African rugby players.

The former Wallaby winger singled out three men after the Sharks’ Vodacom Super 14 win against the Chiefs in Durban.

“Brent Russell is some player and he is going to get better this year as he gets more game time,” Campo told Mercury rugby writer Mike Greenaway. “I thought Henno Mentz had some excellent moments, both on attack and defence, and of course Ruan Pienaar had a fine game. Pienaar is going to be great. I think, though, that it might be advisable for him to lay low a bit because he is going to be singled out by the opposition – he is going to get a lot of heat so it might be in his best interests to move the ball away from himself a bit more, attacking only every so often.”

Campese also believes Tony Brown will make a big impact when he finally arrives from Japan.

“I think Tony will settle the team down a lot,” said Campese. “I played against him a number of times and found him to be an excellent all-round player – very skillful, very physical, a good tackler and he kicks very well. The youngsters in this squad will learn a great deal from playing alongside him.”

The Sharks have gotten their season off to a winning start, but the 101-Test Wallaby is not getting too excited.

“Encouraging but not yet convincing,” was his verdict. “The guys were rusty and hesitant, which explains the high number of mistakes, but in general it was a good start.

“It worries me a little that the unique pressure on the South African teams [to avoid relegation] this year is going to inhibit their play. I would like to see the guys treating the ball like gold when they get it rather than kicking it away.”