Josh Tatupu says he is looking to put his recent injury woes firmly behind him and make a big impression when the Exeter Chiefs resume competitive action next month.
The Samoan international was one of a number of new faces head coach Rob Baxter brought to Sandy Park as the Devon club set about their second season in the Aviva Premiership.
However, Tatupu's debut season - which had started so brightly for the 26-year-old back - was sadly cut short in January when he broke an ankle in the Amlin Challenge Cup win at Cavalieri Prato.
Although Tatupu recovered from that setback well enough alongside the club's medical staff, his campaign was then further blighted when he tore a calf muscle in April, just before he was set to make his first-team return.
It was a cruel blow for the former Castres player, but having used the time since to regain his fitness and also get married, Tatupu is now raring to go as the Chiefs countdown the days until their pre-season warm-up clashes against Connacht, Cornish Pirates and Glasgow Warriors.
"Everyone's going as hard as they can at training, in the fitness sessions and swimming," said Tatupu. "It will be interesting to see what happens come the pre-season games and then the start of the season, but all everyone can do is put their best foot forward and hope to be in one of the [pre-season] teams and the team for round one [of the Premiership].
"I haven't played since January, so I'm pretty keen to get in for the trial games just to get back playing. You can only do so much training, I want to get back out there. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully I'll be able to play well in the trial games and stake my claim for the start of the season."
Certainly Tatupu impressed many of the Chiefs' faithful in the appearances he did make for the club last season. In 14 games last season, he not only helped himself to four tries, but showed his versatility by playing both in the centre and on the wing.
Watching from the sidelines, though, he admitted that although he was delighted to see his team-mates and the club do so well over the final months of the season, it was tough not being able to be part of the on-field action.
"It was really tough at the end of last season," he said. "I got injured pretty much midway through - and at the business end of the season I felt like I was letting the boys down in some way. They were playing the tough games and winning the big matches, but you're still a part of it but it doesn't feel that way.
"It was frustrating for me, but it was an awesome way to finish the season and making the Heineken Cup was fantastic. Hopefully we'll do it again and I will play a bit of a bigger part of it this time."