Ruan Pienaar admits he'll be emotional when leading the Cheetahs out against his former team Ulster at Belfast's Kingspan Stadium this evening.
The former Springboks' scrum-half spent seven years at the northern province before having to leave for Montpellier in 2017 with the IRFU seeking to make a pathway for homegrown players.
“It brings a lot of memories and good feelings when you drive into Belfast and my wife is very jealous that I am back here,” Pienaar told the Guinness PRO14's official website.
“Having spent seven years playing for Ulster it will be a strange feeling running out at the Kingspan Stadium wearing a different jersey but I am looking forward to it
“We will see what the future holds. I am coming to the end of my playing career and our time in the next few years is in South Africa, but we’ll see.
“It’s been a while since I have played at the Kingspan, and I know how brilliant and supportive their supporters are, but it is obviously a very important game for us and we are desperate to get the result. We will obviously have to perform a lot better than in our last game, but training has gone well this week.”
The Cheetahs lost 26-12 to Conference A leaders Leinster in Dublin last weekend and the scrum-half admits it was a testing encounter for the South Africans.
“We had a really tough outing against Leinster in bad conditions. Some Leinster players told me afterwards they had never seen it so bad in the years that they have played there. I think in the first half we were our own worst enemies. Leinster played well and we had not possession or field position but we gave away too many penalties,” he said.
“But you have to take the positives from it and in the second half we were much better. I may be wrong but we only conceded one try and scored two (in the last 25 minutes), our discipline was a lot better and we we kept the ball a lot better and put them under pressure more. So yes, a tough game if you look at the scoreboard but the way we ended was encouraging and we’ll try take that into this game.”