Sean O'Brien has returned from injury to turn out for Ireland
British & Irish Lion Sean O'Brien believes he is getting better all the time as he shakes off the rust from his time on the sidelines.
The Leinster flanker, who played two tests for the Lions in 2013, has struggled with injury over the last few months after shoulder surgery ruled him out and an infection prolonged his absence.
But the 28-year-old has battled back to fitness and won the race to turn out for Ireland against France.
And, although he will miss Leinster's clash with Zebre on Friday, he says that he is slowly but surely finding his feet again as he steps up his bid to recapture his finest form.
"The body needs a bit of recovery now after being on for that long last week," he said.
"I could have been available [to face Zebre], maybe, but there was probably a risk element to it just with soft tissue stuff. Just giving that hamstring a bit of a rest.
"You have done so much work but you are carrying a lot through those weeks. To play an international you have to train hard all week and then go out and do it all over again.
"Then you get your break. It is difficult but it is something that is very well managed.
"Getting through 50 minutes, it's unbelievable what it does for you the following week. You can do all the running you want outside of rugby but games is what you need. Once you get minutes under your belt you get better every time.
"That's just a natural progression and it's always been the case with me. If you get two or three games then you get really fit. I was blowing at the weekend after 20 minutes, mind you. It was a really fast pace but then it kind of levelled out."