Sale Sharks centre Sam Tuitupou is desperate to get back on the field after breaking his jaw in pre-season.
The former All Blacks centre is targeting a return in three weeks time for Sale, after missing the shock victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm.
A mainstay in the Sharks side last season when he was captain, Tuitupou signed a new contract in March earlier this year.
"I'm just hoping to play the best that I can for the team and keep injury free," said Tuitupou.
"Unfortunately I couldn't keep to that last goal as I broke my jaw during the warm up games.
"The recovery is going well and I should be back in action in about three weeks. I think the most important thing for me is getting as much game time as I possibly can.
"I also felt a big relief getting my contract tied up in March, last season we went through a bad patch with the contracts of some key members of staff all coming up.
"It's important for the players to know they're wanted by the club as they see them as the future. It's just one less thing for everyone to worry about."
Tuitupou also relinquished the captaincy over the off-season to another former All Black in flanker Daniel Braid, who joined Sale in January last year and has Tuitupou's full backing.
"Giving up the captaincy was a massive weight off my shoulders and one less thing to worry about," added Tuitupou.
"Braidy has the job now and he brings a lot of leadership in the team but, also, there are a lot of other leaders out there on the pitch. It just means that I can focus on my own game a bit more which is a positive."