Cape Town - Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar started training with the Free State Cheetahs on Monday and could be called upon for Friday's clash against the Golden Lions at the Free State Stadium.
The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Cheetahs after leaving French club Montpellier and has now relocated his family to Bloemfontein, the city in which he grew up.
According to OFM, Free State captain Tian Meyer is struggling with a hamstring injury and did not take part in Monday's training session, which could mean that Pienaar is called upon against the Lions.
"I've done a lot of training on my own while packing up and moving back to South Africa. It is obviously different to rugby fitness which entails falling, getting up, making tackles, getting around the field, changing direction and so on, but that will all come back in the next few weeks.
"In two weeks' time I will feel a lot better, but I am excited. The guys are working hard and at high-intensity training which is exactly what I need. There are a lot of youngsters that will push me, so it's good to try and keep up with them," he said.
Pienaar said he expected Meyer to recover in time for Friday's game but getting a chance to play would be exciting.
"I haven't played rugby since the first weekend in January, but I will be really excited if I get the opportunity to play this weekend, especially where it all started for me."
While attending Grey College, Pienaar played his youth rugby for Free State before beginning his professional career with the Sharks in 2004.
After six years in Durban, he played for Irish club Ulster between 2010 and 2017, before spending two years at Montpellier in France.
He played 88 Tests for the Springboks between 2006 and 2015.
The Free State Cheetahs are currently top of the Currie Cup standings with two comprehensive wins - 68-14 against Griquas in Bloemfontein and 43-27 against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.