Dan Cole had been sidelined for nine months following neck surgery
British & Irish Lion prop Dan Cole admitted it was good to get the competitive juices flowing again as he made his long-awaited return from injury.
Cole had been out for the last nine months after neck surgery but stepped off the bench for his first club appearance since January to help Leicester Tigers see off Sale Sharks at Welford Road.
The 27-year-old, who has four times more first-team Leicester starting appearances than the total of the starting forward pack chosen on Sunday, played the last 32 minutes of the 29-13 triumph.
And Cole, who featured in all three Tests against Australia in the 2-1 series victory for the British & Irish Lions in 2013, insisted it was good to be back.
"I'm tired, but that's to be expected. I'm pleased to get out and run about again," Cole said.
"The conditioning staff have been great, they've done a lot of hard work and you do as much as you can to get ready to be on the field but nothing is exactly the same until you get back on to the pitch.
"I'm pleased I'm back on the field, it's what you are here to do."