Harlequins’ Karl Dickson admits it was tough watching his side’s slide down the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings from the sidelines in recent weeks.
But after an all-star showing on his return against Bath Rugby, the scrum-half is relishing the opportunity to get back amongst it.
Conor O’Shea’s side notched up their second win in seven games on Friday with a 35-28 triumph at the Stoop, but they were made to work for it in the second half against Mike Ford’s determined troops – who fought back brilliantly to earn themselves a losing bonus-point.
It was Dickson’s first appearance since early December, having had to undergo surgery on a hand injury.
And despite watching Quins stutter in recent weeks, he is adamant they can reverse their slide and mount a late push for a top-four finish in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“It’s been a long six weeks out, so it felt great to get back out there and be with the boys again,” he said.
“It was made even better by getting the win, so for me personally I loved helping the boys out and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season now.
“I was disappointed for the boys watching them from the sidelines in recent weeks, as we gave ourselves a great platform in the Aviva Premiership Rugby before the Six Nations.
“But everyone still has the belief. We should be up there no matter what, and hopefully the Bath game can be a big turning point for us.
“It can be a catalyst for the end of the season perhaps going forward; there’s only a few points between third and sixth, so every game matters.
“We have a massive game again this weekend, and if we win it catapults us probably back up into the top four.
“Then we’ve got five games left with all the Six Nations boys coming back to look forward to, and it’s going to go down to the wire.”
Many of the Aviva Premiership Rugby’s brightest stars don’t like to look beyond their next game, but 33-year-old Dickson is already making plans for life after professional rugby.
The forward-thinking scrum-half is hoping to emulate the likes of former Saracens fly-half Glen Jackson in becoming a full-time official, but concedes it is a strange feeling being the man behind the whistle.
He said: “I am training to be a referee. Will Skinner was doing it here too and he mentioned it me so I thought I’d give it a go in case I fancied it when I am finished up with playing.
“I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now, and it’s going really well. I’m refereeing National 3 level, so I’m just looking to push on now and I do what I can in my spare time when I get weekends off.
“I’m enjoying it and potentially it’s certainly something for the future. It’s not something I’d been thinking about doing for ages, but surprisingly I’ve really enjoyed it.
“Being a No.9 we are usually the ones who are always chirpsing at the referee, so it’s probably a bit ironic, but it’s cool being on the opposite side of things.”