Sharks boss Gary Gold was pleased to arrive in Durban and find a fully-prepared squad after finally linking up with his new employers, he said on Wednesday.
“The feedback from the coaches has been absolutely fantastic and preparation for the season has been hugely successful,” said Gold.
“The attitude of everyone has been wonderful. The guys had a little bit of a run-out last week and they are very well organised and very well prepared.”
The former Springbok assistant coach had been wrapping up his responsibilities in Japan where his club Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers reached the semi-finals of their domestic Top League.
The 47-year-old linked up with the Sharks late last week, on a permanent basis, after his initial appointment in October.
His assistants Brad Macleod-Henderson, Sean Everitt and Paul Anthony had taken charge in the interim.
The trio had been working under new technical director Brendan Venter, who guided the club to the Currie Cup title in 2013, as they prepared the Sharks for the forthcoming Super Rugby season.
The team is currently in France to face European champions Toulon in a pre-season friendly on Thursday.
“This is going to be the first run-out for the guys and obviously Toulon are already involved in their own season, so they will be more prepared than us,” added Gold.
“But it’s what we wanted and it will test us. For various reasons, there’s a few Springbok players unavailable at the moment, but it gives an unbelievable opportunity to some of the young guys to show what they can offer.
“It will be hard work, but it’s a nice chance to see how far we’ve come and also see what we need to improve on in the weeks ahead.”
Jannie du Plessis, Willem Alberts and Thomas du Toit did not travel with the squad as they continue their recovery from injuries, while Japan-based trio Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen and Ryan Kankowski were expected to begin training with the Durban-based side upon their return.
The Sharks open their Super Rugby season against the Cheetahs at Kings Park on Saturday 14 February.