Gloucester's Duncan McRae was delighted to have completed 65 minutes in Monday night's 36-10 win over Saracens in front of more than 2,600 supporters at Kingsholm in the Zurich 'A' League win.
The 30 year-old Aussie has missed a number of months through neck and knee injuries this season, and made a timely return to the Gloucester shirt with three crucial Premiership games coming up.
Commenting on www.gloucesterrugbyclub.com after the second team clash with Saracens the fly-half said: "I'm just glad everything is back to normal now. I came through 65 minutes unscathed, and it's the biggest mental boost I could have had. I'm glad to get my head right and back on the field."
Director of rugby Nigel Melville will now be able to consider McRae for selection for Saturday's home clash against Leeds.
"Hopefully my name is now in the hat for the next few games, but there are guys ahead of me who deserve a chance. First things first, I'm just glad to be back," added McRae.
McRae's suffered a serious neck injury against Ulster at the end of October, which was followed by two knee injuries.
"I've tried to stay focussed and involved throughout the season, and kept telling myself I'd be back."
The former South Wales Waratahs player knows the final three games against Leeds (9 April), Sale (15 April) and Saracens (30 April) are key to Gloucester's season, as they push for a top three place, with only five points between them and third placed Sale.
"Saturday's game against Leeds is massive. We're still in with a chance of third place, and we have to fight it out with a number of other clubs."
Looking back at the impressive performance against Saracens in the 'A' League, and a returning Richard Hill, McRae said: "It was fantastic on Monday night. There was a good crowd of more than 2,500, and the young guys were tremendous, some of them are still attending assembly at school, which was a bit weird. The young talent coming through is a big positive for Gloucester."
Speaking straight after the game, skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV that losing at home to Bath, in front of a tremendous home support, was desperately disappointing and that the whole team were hurting in the dressing room.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.