Sharks wing JP Pietersen has said he has shaken off his relatively stale form and is ready for the Super Rugby season.
The 29-year-old broke through to deliver a pass to Joe Pietersen that saw the fly-half score the match-winning try for the Durban-based side when they faced the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
Pietersen, who is concluding his duties for the Sharks this year before heading to Premiership side Leicester, believes that he is now refreshed after the toll of playing in South Africa, followed by the 2015 World Cup and his stint in Japan directly afterwards had on his body.
“I have played Super Rugby for ten years now and I know how tough this competition is,” Pietersen told Supersport.
“It is why I knew I needed a good mental break. I needed to refocus on getting back into Super Rugby. I did some tough fitness work and while it was hard on the body, I am now mentally and physically in the right place.”
Pietersen said that they now need to shift their focus to the Bulls and not become self-satisfied following their win over an in-form Stormers outfit.
“We need to forget about the Cape Town game now," he added.
"We need to understand we can’t just expect to pitch up at Loftus and win. Particularly not against the Bulls on their home turf. It just doesn’t work like that.
“It is easy to fall into the complacency trap. The Bulls are fresh after a week off for their bye and they will be determined to beat us as they may still be smarting from their big defeat to the Stormers at the start of the competition.”
The Springbok wing also said that director of rugby Gary Gold's involvement in the build up to the Super Rugby season has greatly benefitted the side, and that they want to deliver improved performances from last year's struggling display.
“Last year our coach Gary (Gold) only joined us from Japan at the start of the season but this time he has been involved in the entire pre-season and it has made a huge difference," said Pietersen.
"Everything has been very well planned this year and we are eager to make up for the disappointments of before by doing well. I hope our win against the Stormers eased some of the pain for our fans.”
The Sharks face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.