Ben Pienaar believes London Welsh captaincy will benefit him on the pitch

London Welsh vs Bristol - Ben Pienaar in action. Picture: Simon West

London Welsh vs Bristol - Ben Pienaar in action. Picture: Simon West - Credit: Simon West

Former North Walsham junior Ben Pienaar believes being named club captain of London Welsh for the new season will bring out the best in his game.

The 29-year-old joined the Exiles in 2013 and helped the club to Championship success in his debut season, as well as helping secure last season's British and Irish Cup.

The Norfolk-raised back row forward has made 59 appearances for the club, scoring five tries, since joining from Moseley.

'To be asked to captain a club like London Welsh is a huge honour, and it's something I take great pride in,' Pienaar said.

'I really enjoy the role and I think it brings out the best in me, and whenever I've been asked to do it in the past, I've always jumped at the opportunity.

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'I've captained the side on the pitch before, but club captain is very different. You're not just responsible for the boys on the pitch on game day, if selected, but you're also a leader for the club and I want to do as much as I can to help it off the field, whether that be with supporters or sponsors.

'It's a role I'm really looking forward to and hopefully I can help the club to continue to grow and move in the right direction.'

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The South Africa-born former Langley School and Gresham's School pupil came through the academy at Leicester Tigers, making his first-team debut in 2007/08. He went on to make 30 appearances for Tigers, including starting their 2009 Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Bath, and captained Leicester to A League success in 2009/10.

'Ben was the standout candidate for the role,' London Welsh head coach James Buckland said, speaking to Welsh's official website. 'He's a level headed individual who understands the game and who communicates effectively with both the coaching team and the players.

'He's greatly respected within our environment and is the same positive influence on the squad whether he's selected or not, and that's the key requirement of any club captain.

'You want your club captain to galvanise the other players in the changing room and around the club, as well as on the pitch, and Ben does that Monday to Sunday every week.

'Ben's character is such that he would fulfil the club captain's role whether he was officially appointed to the position or not, because he's a natural leader.'

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