New Sharks signing Marius Joubert conceded he was 'a bit rusty' not having played competitive rugby in over a month before his team's 35-16 victory over the Blue Bulls on Saturday.
The former Western Province and Free State centre seemed to struggle with the pace of the game during his first run out for the Durban team in their first game.
"I didn't play for five weeks and then suddenly bang into a match," he said. "But I stayed busy, I stayed active and there's nothing like playing again to get back to the right levels.
"At the end of the day you have to play, so it's going to take about four or five games to shake off the rust. Then hopefully I'll be nicely at my peak and playing well for the Sharks," added Joubert.
The 32-year-old has spent the last three-and-a-half years playing for Clermont Auvergne in France having last played for the Cheetahs during the 2007 season and he admitted that adjusting to conditions in South Africa again has been a bit of a challenge.
He explained: "France is a little bit different from South Africa, the conditions, the speed of the game, obviously I have to adapt to the fields here again. So I'll have to get used to it. I didn't have a clue what to expect against the Bulls.
"I arrived about two weeks ago in Durban and last week was pretty hectic, a full week, and getting used to the guys, the moves, the plays and those sort of things. So it was pretty intense and then we had the Bulls on the weekend," he said.
Despite his relative inexperience playing for the Sharks, Joubert is seen as one of the senior players already with the franchise severely depleted due to international commitments.
Fifteen players are away with the Springboks, while lock Steven Sykes has left for Irish club Leinster.
Joubert, capped 30 times for his country between 2001 and 2005, is joined by other senior men in the team like veteran Stefan Terblanche, former Cheetahs teammate Meyer Bosman and Frenchman Frederick Michalak.
However, for the moment he is content with just sitting back and learning from those around him, including coach John Plumtree.
"Plum is a clever coach and he has had good success over the years. I'm sure I will learn a lot from him," said Joubert.
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