Alex Corbisiero announced his decision to leave Northampton Saints this week after a series of injury troubles and ex-teammate George Pisi believes he has made the right call.
The British & Irish Lions and England prop had an operation on his knee last month and has also been dogged by back and shoulder problems, preventing him from making an Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance since May.
He is now set to take a break from the game to recover and Pisi, who himself has endured an extended spell on the sidelines in the past, has sympathy, though does believe Corbisiero may well run out at Franklin’s Gardens again.
“He’s a top bloke, a really positive guy and we all wish him the very best with the choice he has made,” said Pisi.
“You never know, he might come back one day in the green and gold and do well for us again. We wish him all the best.
“I had two shoulder reconstructions and was out of the game for seven months. You need to be in the right place mentally to cope with that and a break will give him the chance to have a clear head to make the right decisions.
“I had great support from my parents and my church and it helped me stay determined to come back.”
On the pitch, Saints have been inconsistent and last weekend’s narrow derby defeat to Leicester Tigers leaves them fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
For the next two weekends their attentions turn to European matters, starting with Sunday’s clash at home to Glasgow Warriors.
Saints could need two victories to reach the European Rugby Champions Cup knockout stage and Pisi is hopeful the strength of character shown to fight back from 21-0 down against Leicester to level the scores – before losing in the final minute – can help see them advance.
“We need to build on last week and the last 60 minutes against Leicester,” Pisi added.
“Losing to Leicester is always tough because it’s a derby. The start we made cost us the game, but there are positives to take because of the way we fought back.
“This week we need to try and get a win for the fans. We are looking for two wins, and probably two bonus points, but we feel like we can get through.
“We can’t worry too much about permutations and results from elsewhere, we just need to get the points on the board.
“The pool has probably surprised us a little bit, you’ve got Scarlets top of the Pro12, so all the teams are strong. Post-World Cup is always tough, but there’s no excuses we are a top team with lots of good players and we have high expectations of ourselves.”