Johannesburg - New Sharks captain Jean Deysel believes his biggest challenge in the coming months will be to feature more regularly, as he searches for the for the form that made him a Springbok three years ago.
The big flank has struggled with a knee injury for large parts of the Super Rugby season, restricting his involvement to just one start.
He also played eight times as a replacement, but even when he did get opportunities, he found any sort of tempo difficult to come by.
"I haven’t really set myself any targets or goals. I think the most important thing for me is to get some time on the park and play a bit more," he said.
"I haven’t been playing a lot recently because of the injury, so for me now the more action I get, the better it will be.
"The injury, the lack of confidence and the lack of playing have all set me back a bit. But I’m getting a great opportunity in the Currie Cup and I want to grab it with both hands and play a lot more." Regarding the rehabilitation from the knee problem, Deysel said the worst was over.
"The injury is as good as before. I feel I am over everything now. My body is feeling great and I’m happy with where I’m sitting at the moment. I’ve had a good break and am in great shape."
He now has the chance to turn things around again after being handed the captaincy reins by coach John Plumtree last week. His first outing as leader resulted in a 25-23 victory over Western Province at Newlands.
The Sharks face defending champions the Lions at Kings Park in Durban this weekend, looking to build on a good start against a team they met in the final of the competition last year.
The men from Johannesburg began their campaign with an impressive 43-20 win over the Free State Cheetahs last week.
"They played well, but we also had a fairly good start to the season," he said.
"As for the Lions, we can only take them as they come this weekend. We’ve had a bit of analysis on them and we’ve prepared as we always have for the game so far. Hopefully we’ll be able to deliver on the weekend."
The 27-year-old Deysel, capped four times by the Boks, felt there was enough depth and strength in the squad to again mount a strong title challenge this year.
He admitted that the captaincy role was uncharted territory, but was confident of succeeding.
"Captaining the side is a bit of a challenge as a new role for me. But I have players like Jacques Botes and Steven Sykes helping out a lot," he said.
"It’s also a personal challenge but one I’m looking forward to; I’m always looking for new challenges in life."