Sharks' Currie Cup fullback SP Marais has admitted that he is suffering from a dip in form and says that it came after he lost his place in the team during the Super Rugby season.
Twenty-five-year-old fullback Marais was dropped from the Sharks Super Rugby side by director of rugby Jake White in March this year and replaced by Springbok winger Lwazi Mvovo.
"I think I'm going through a bit of a dip or have been going through a bit of a dip," admits Marais.
"I won't say I'm satisfied with the way I'm playing."
"I know what I'm doing wrong. They are things that I can sort out myself and I'm focusing on improving that so that I can get back to top form."
Marais did regain his place during the Sharks' successful tour to Australia and New Zealand, eventually playing in all 18 off their games, six of those off the bench.
But he admits he is still suffering.
"That ([losing my place) is a bit of a factor because every rugby player thrives on their confidence," he said.
"And I think my confidence took a big knock after that. So it's just rebuilding my confidence now and having the ability to play with the guys next to me."
Asked what he was doing wrong, the former Eastern Province back added: "I feel I was quite balanced in Super Rugby, knowing when to kick, knowing when to counter and it's just that I've moved away from being balanced.
"Sometimes I do things well and then sometimes I make silly mistakes. It's just about going back to basics and doing what I do well. That's what I'm concentrating on."
The Sharks face the Pumas in their first home game of this season's Currie Cup in Durban on Friday.
They made a good start to the campaign by edging out Griquas 31-24 in Kimberley on Saturday, a victory that was welcomed by Marais.
"The most important thing was that we started with a win. Whether we won by two points or five points it didn't matter," he said.
"We're a very young group and everybody is very enthusiastic and excited.
"We've only been together for one week really, so winning was the only objective for the opening weekend. A win is a win, even if it's dirty."
The defending champions will come up against a Pumas side buoyed by their 28-21 upset win over the Cheetahs at the weekend.
Marais insisted they would not be taking the Mpumalanga outfit lightly ahead of their Kings Park showdown.
"In the Currie Cup, I wouldn't say there's any team less strong than the other," he said. "I think it's equal grounding because there are no Springboks, so that's not a factor.
"I think it's the team that arrives on the day and wants it more that's going to get the win."