Durban - The Sharks will welcome back a world-class player to their ranks when Frans Steyn returns to the rugby franchise in July, coach John Plumtree said on Tuesday.
The Springbok back on Monday signed a three-year deal to play his rugby in Durban from July 1, and returns after almost three years in France, where he played for Racing Metro.
"He's not back in the country yet, but we’re looking forward to getting him back," Plumtree said.
"He was one of ours before he left and to see him come back is fantastic. He is a world-class player who has got so many strengths, and it's just great to get Fransie back."
The 2007 World Cup-winner and 47-caps Bok will have to be fully assessed first.
"We'll have to do some fitness tests and see where he's at," Plumtree said.
"I think when he came back for the World Cup [last year] he was a bit out of shape and it took them [Springbok management] about four weeks to get him into shape.
"He's been playing regularly, so I expect him to be in good form."
Steyn will, however, not be able to play should the Sharks make the knockout phases as SANZAR's rules state that no player registered after April 1 is allowed to play in the playoffs.
Plumtree’s Sharks are the form South African side in Super Rugby, having won four matches in succession, including a 25-20 win over local conference leaders the Stormers on Saturday.
They will be trying to round up an exceptional five weeks on Saturday when they face the struggling Lions in Johannesburg, a match the coach has warned must not be taken for granted.
"You’ve got to have respect and as soon as you think you’re a little better than you are, you’ll be in trouble," he said.
"We’ve got to go up there and finish up this job. We’ll undo a lot of work if we don’t do the job this week. I told the players that attitude is going to be huge this week in terms of our preparation."
He cautioned the Springbok hopefuls in his side against thinking a week ahead to facing England, and even threatened to leave out players not in the correct frame of mind.
"That’s what we’ve got to avoid," Plumtree said.
"I don’t want to break up the momentum, but if there’s players who have their eyes on England, then we’re going to disappoint ourselves."