Influential number eight Duane Vermeulen can't wait to get back on the field for South Africa this weekend against Samoa.
The 2014 World Rugby Player of the Year nominee has recovered from neck surgery in time to play his first game in this year's Rugby World Cup.
Vermeulen was forced to watch on from the sidelines as the Springboks crashed to a shock defeat to Japan on the opening weekend of the tournament in Brighton.
Admitting his rehabilitation process had been tough, Vermeulen knows all the hard work will be worth it by the time he gets back on the field.
“It’s been an amazing journey until now. My goal was always to make it to the Rugby World Cup and the doctors told me that I could make it if I worked hard," Vermeulen said.
“That moment has now arrived and I can’t wait to play on Saturday.
"It’s been wonderful to be back training again with my teammates, and not run on my own next to the field, but now the next step is to get back into the game.
“I put a lot of very hard work in over the last three months, and our medical staff deserve a lot of credit for helping me with my rehabilitation.
“It’s been tough but I can’t wait to get out on the pitch, where I belong. All I want to do is make the guys around me proud, play to the best of my ability and contribute to a team effort.”