Sharks scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar admitted that his lack of game time in the last three weeks has left him feeling sluggish.
Pienaar was called up to the Springbok squad in August but has played just 25 minutes of rugby since then.
With the snappy Vodacom Blue Bulls scrumhalf Heini Adams guaranteed to put pressure on the 22-year-old around the fringes of the rucks and mauls, Dick Muir will be concerned that a key member of his team might not be up to the major task that awaits them at the Absa Stadium on Saturday.
“I wasn’t too involved with the Boks so I’m probably not as sharp as I should be,” Pienaar told Keo.co.za. “I don’t know what sort of form I’m in at the moment because I haven’t really been able to test myself.
“It’s a matter of starting over now and we’ll have to see what happens,” he said.
The Sharks are likely play their first choice half-back pairing of Pienaar and Butch James following the conclusion of the Vodacom Tri-Nations series. James also hasn’t played since the Springboks Test against the All Blacks at Loftus but Pienaar said the combination would be dangerous irrespective of their dearth of game time.
“We’ve been training together at the Boks for quite a while now, so it’s not like our partnership would have suffered.
“We’ve got a great understanding that has been built over a long time now,” he continued. “Both of us are attack-minded players who like to exploit the opposition defence and you’ll see more of that on Saturday.”
The Sharks have scored 144 points in their last two games against the Pumas and Griquas respectively but Pienaar suggested that they would take a more tempered approach against a Bulls side who boast the second best defensive record in the Absa Currie Cup.
“I think we’ll need to keep it tighter against them than we have in recent games,” he said. “In big games like this, one error can determine the outcome and we’ll be looking to force those errors rather than make them ourselves.
“That said, we are always encouraged to play the situation, so we won’t go out with a pre-determined game plan and we’ll look to attack whenever it’s on.”
By Ryan Vrede