Contract running out, but Kirchner unsure if he must follow Pienaar out of Ireland

LEINSTER BACK ZANE Kirchner is hoping to stay at Leinster after his current contract expires at the end of this season. However, he’s still far from certain whether he’ll have any option but to seek employment elsewhere.

Kirchner’s fellow Springbok Ruan Pienaar was not permitted to extend his Ulster contract on the grounds that it went against the IRFU’s succession plan policy, which restricts non-Irish qualified (NIQ) players at the provinces to one per position.

The arrival of Jamison Gibson-Park to Leinster put Pienaar on the wrong side of the IRFU diktat. And with New Zealand international Charles Piutau boosting the star power in Belfast, Kirchner admits he doesn’t yet know what might be in store for him next season.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind staying,” the Springbok said in Leinster’s UCD base on Monday.

“I think Ruan, speaking about him, he’s got much love for Ulster and the environment and the place that he’s been in there.

“It’s like a second home to him. Apart from South Africa, it’s a home away from home.

“So I think he’s probably a bit heartbroken and it’s not good to hear (the situation) he finds himself in now. But I think, as a professional and knowing him quite well, he’s quite strong and he will make a positive contribution this season. And, whatever lies ahead for him (after this season) I think hell choose the best option for him and his family.”

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