James Botham was thrilled with his return to action as Cardiff Blues completed a Guinness PRO14 double over the Ospreys.
The dynamic flanker had been sidelined since injury his hamstring in November, with lockdown delaying his comeback.
But after patiently biding his time, he finally laced up his boots one more and produced a standout performance in the 29-20 victory at Rodney Parade.
Such was the level of his performance that Botham was in line to claim the man of the match award before he was pipped at the post by Jason Tovey in the final five minutes.
He said: “My last game was obviously away in Treviso in November when I did my hamstring so it is great to be back and also getting through on this pitch because my previous encounters here haven’t been great injury wise.
“I was lucky in a way to not miss that many games but on the other hand I would have preferred to be playing in the couple of weeks before lockdown.
“But that’s done now, I can’t do anything about it and it’s just about doing what I can to help the Blues and do my best for the team.
“It’s great to get out on the pitch again for the Blues. I can’t fault Tovey for his man of the match performance and he really helped us. We wouldn’t have played the way we did if he hadn’t stepped up and performed like he did.
“Individual performances follow on from the team performance and we got what we wanted and that was the win and performance we wanted.”
Botham was part of a dominant forward performance with several youngsters also impressing.
The likes of Corey Domachowski and Seb Davies received plenty of plaudits, while Botham’s partnership with Shane Lewis-Hughes in the back row received particularly praise.
He added: “I love playing with Shane. We have played together through the 18s, 20s, and we have a nice little bond. He is a great guy, a great player and I enjoy playing with him.
“Wales is unbelievable for back-row talent but that’s making me and other players strive to be better and that will only benefit both the Blues and the national team.”