New Sharks signing Joe Pietersen sees his move to the Sharks as a new challenge and is determined to help contribute to the team’s success.
Although he’s considered a newcomer to Durban, Pietersen is actually returning to his roots and the province of his birth, having been born in Vryheid before his schooling took place at Grey College in Bloemfontein.
He made his senior Currie Cup debut for Western Province as a 20-year-old and has since enjoyed a good career as an exciting full-back and more recently, flyhalf.
"It’s an exciting challenge, I’m very happy to be here and I’ll try do my best," Pietersen told the Sharks' official website.
He moved to the Cheetahs for the Super Rugby campaign earlier this year before the announcement that he was going to the Sharks.
It was at the Cheetahs that he would not only play a similarly exciting brand of rugby embraced by the Sharks, but also add to the value he brings to a team by playing in a different position.
"I must say, in the past, the Sharks have been way more successful, Free State do have their strengths and I just felt it was a good move for me to come to Durban," he said.
"I obviously don’t want to say anything bad about Free State, but for me this is a career move. I gained a lot of experience playing for Free State, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.
"I also got to play in a different position – fly-half – where I probably wouldn’t have played there anywhere else in the country.
"This has given me an extra string to my bow. Going forward, I hope to be able to contribute to The Sharks thanks to the time I had at fly-half."
Having played his rugby at Western Province and the Stormers, a few appearances for the Blitzbokke, as well as for Bayonne and Biarritz in France, before his Super Rugby stint with the Cheetahs this year, he brings a wealth of experience as well as knowledge of different types of play and conditions.
This, together with his versatility, make him a valuable addition to the Sharks side.
"You learn a few new things each time you play for a different team and hopefully you can continue this when you are at a new team," he added.
"There are a nice bunch of young guys coming through with good energy here and a few who have been around for a while; I think the mix is a good one and this is a great squad to be part of.
"Training has been good, the great weather helps and it’s all been going smoothly so we’re hoping to build on that."
Losing players at the Sharks means opportunities for others and he readily accepts that despite this setback, there are plenty of players ready and willing to take up the challenge.
"A lot of guys are away with the Springboks now and with the Rugby World Cup later, but this is something that a big union like The Sharks is now used to," he said.
"It just means the youngsters have to step up. But a lot of the so-called young guys got a lot of experience during the Super Rugby competition because of injuries, and this means competition within our squad will be strong and the boys are pushing for spots."