Tom Croft has endured an injury nightmare since returning from the British & Irish Lions in 2013 but the flanker believes he’s finally nearing a return to full fitness.
The 29-year-old has completed just three full matches in the last 18 months and one of those came on Friday, as Leicester Tigers beat Scarlets in Europe.
Knee injuries have been the cause of much of Croft’s trouble after appearing in the first two Lions Tests against the Wallabies.
And after a number of false dawns, Croft admits there is now light at the end of the tunnel after playing back-to-back games without any setbacks.
"It's nice to come off the pitch and not need an operation," said Croft, who has been named in the England Saxons squad. "It's good to get two games in a row, 55 minutes against Harlequins and 80 against Scarlets.
"It was always just about getting a run of games. I felt better after Scarlets than I did the week before and, if I get involved this week, hopefully I'll feel better again.
"You can do as much fitness and contact conditioning off the pitch, but there's nothing like playing games to get that match-fitness back.
"It's great to be given a chance and it’s good be back, especially playing at Welford Road."