All Blacks second-row Luke Romano admits he was nervous on his return to Test rugby on Saturday against England at Twickenham.
The bruising lock had been sidelined with a groin injury sustained in New Zealand's opening Rugby Championship for some three months.
He made his comeback as a replacement in the 30-22 victory over the English in the Kiwis' second match of their November tour.
And 27-year-old Romano spoke of his anxiousness at getting back amongst the action.
"I was as nervous as I've ever been prior to a game," Romano told AAP.
"I hadn't played for 15 weeks and you've got that little doubt whether your groin's going to hold up to it.
"If I get an opportunity this week, I'll be a lot better for it."
In Romano's absence, Brodie Retallick has slotted in at second-row alongside Sam Whitelock, forming arguably the best lock partnership in world rugby.
But while winning back his Test spot is on his agenda, more pressing is the need for the Blacks to continue building momentum as they prepare to face Ireland in Dublin on Sunday to round off their 2013 fixtures.
"You're seeing the pattern of the game that we wanted to play, grow," added Romano.
"Once I got out there and got involved, it was like putting a glove back on. It felt comfortable."