Ntuthuko Mchunu says the Cell C Sharks have proven they can perform without their Springboks.
Several big names will be missing from the Sharks lineup to face the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus on Sunday due to the upcoming end-of-year tour, but their loosehead prop is not too concerned.
“The team did well in the pre-season with the Boks being away and the squad has grown,” said Mchunu, who made his Test debut against Wales in Bloemfontein in July.
“I think we formed a lot of bonds on and off the field by touring together [in Europe] and playing that side [without the Boks].
“We were able to come away with two wins on tour and we showed a lot of character against Leinster.
“I think the combinations worked well together and we are looking forward to maintaining that spirit we had on tour and carrying it through to the game this weekend.
“It’s always a big game going up there. It’s two South African sides going at each other, so we are just taking care of what we can take care of and that is preparing really well.”
The Sharks have not played since 15 October, with last weekend’s match against Ulster at Kings Park postponed after the tourists fell ill.
“It was quite shocking news on Friday,” said Mchunu. “We had a really good week of prep and we had come off a win a week before and we were just looking forward to the whole festivities of the day and the team we were going to field.”
There were some positives to come from the situation, though.
“We brushed up on a lot of things from last week and some players are going to be really fresh this weekend,” said the 23-year-old.