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."
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees praised his side's character after their comeback win against Bristol on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites overcame a 6-0 half time deficit to eventually win the game 26-18 and secure a bonus point victory.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.