No player likes spending time on the sidelines but Nic Rouse admits his period out injured was made all the more frustrating given London Irish’s Aviva Premiership Rugby troubles.
But after making his first appearance of the season last time out, the 34-year-old is determined to help the Exiles head into the new year with a spring in their step.
Despite losing to Edinburgh 18-15 last weekend London Irish fans could at least celebrate the return of Rouse, who played for an hour in his first run out of the season having recovered from a shoulder injury.
Rouse was London Irish’s Player’s Player of the Year last year and his 12-week absence has been felt, as London Irish prop up the table and are yet to register a single point in six games so far this term.
But now he is back the lock insists he is raring to go as he eyes up a morale-boosting victory over Northampton Saints on Boxing Day.
“Obviously the game against Edinburgh wasn’t to be in terms of getting the result but for me it was good to be back out there with the boys again,” Rouse said.
“I got 60 minutes under my belt and I felt good out there and I probably would have played more if I didn’t have to go off for blood so it was a good outing.
“I have been working hard with the physios and the coaching staff to get back into shape and while I am always critical of myself it was good to be back and I am looking forward to playing again now.
“The boys have been working extremely hard and have been sharing the load as we look to get our first point and I am happy I can help out now.
“We are a tight-knit bunch and have been in the three years I have been here and we know that we have not been far off from getting things right.
“The last Premiership game was the 38-7 loss to Harlequins which put a dampener on things but we are still confident and will be looking to finish 2015 on a high against Saints on Boxing Day.”
The fixture gods were not exactly kind to London Irish this term, as when the final whistle goes against Northampton Saints they will have played all of last season’s top six – as well as heavyweights Harlequins.
But Rouse is refusing to look for excuses, adding: “There are no easy games in the Premiership these days.
“It just worked out that we have played all of the top six from last year but the main thing is that we would have liked to have done better.
“So we just need to get our heads down and crack on and try and string together some good results in a row.”