Pienaar - Phillips a threat

Springboks scrum-half wary of under-fire opposite number

Last Updated: 12/11/10 3:21pm

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Pienaar: Praise for Phillips

Pienaar: Praise for Phillips

Sky Bet

South Africa scrum-half Ruan Pienaar says his out-of-form opposite number Mike Phillips will still pose a major threat when the Springboks face Wales on Saturday.

Phillips has consistently been Wales' first choice for the number nine shirt under Warren Gatland but has come under pressure after his performance against Australia last weekend.

The 28-year-old was part of a back line that struggled to trouble the Wallabies defence until replacement scrum-half Richie Rees injected some energy and even scored a try late on.

However, Phillips has retained his spot in the staring line-up for the clash at the Millennium Stadium and Pienaar is expecting him to be out to prove a point.

"I have not read any papers this week but I know he is under a bit of pressure," Pienaar said.

Confident

"But you don't become a bad player overnight, he is one of the better nines in world rugby and every time he gets picked in the Welsh jersey all the players around him are confident.

"I'm sure he will have been working hard this week to try and get back to his best."

Pienaar and Phillips have previously faced-off during the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2009, although the Ulster half-back was used primarily at stand-off during that series.

However, Pienaar saw enough of the Ospreys man to state that he was one of the tourists' best performers on that trip.

He added: "He was a really big threat for us and he is one of the special players Wales look to so they can secure go-forward ball.

"He is a world-class player but he will just go out and play his game, go out and do what he does best."

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