Mako Vunipola believes his injury-enforced absence earlier this season helped him in the long term as he fights for a World Cup spot.
The Saracens tighthead is battling with Joe Marler, Alex Corbisiero and Matt Mullan to make England's 31-man squad, having been used as a replacement throughout the Six Nations.
He followed that tournament up by helping Saracens to the Premiership title, an impressive end to the campaign which started late due to knee surgery last May.
And while the months on the sidelines were tough for the 24-year-old, he feels he also learned a lot from the experience.
"Winning the Premiership for us as a squad was a great memory," he told the RFU.
"And it was special for me personally, given it had been a tough season.
"Being out with injury at the start of the year – watching the boys without being able to do anything – was one of the hardest periods I’ve been through in my career so far. To then come in and get a good run of games felt awesome.
"I’m coming into this year a lot more confident. As well as that, having been injured, you approach things with a different perspective. You know every game could be your last. I think I’m just enjoying my rugby a bit more, and hopefully that’s showed out on the pitch.”
"We’re all different characters. Marler’s out there, Corbs is an awesome rapper but a good guy too and then Matty Mullan is fairly quiet but also a great player.
"We all look after each other, train as hard as we can and help each other out if possible. The world-class mentality is to push each other’s games and it’s going to be hard work to get into that squad."