Tom Croft faces an uphill battle after finding himself relegated to the stands for Leicester after an injury-hit couple of seasons.
The Lions and England back row has barely featured over the past two seasons because of injury, spending extended periods on the sidelines, first with a broken neck, followed by a troublesome knee problem.
As a result Leicester have been forced to look elsewhere in their back row, and in Sunday’s win over Bath, Jamie Gibson was given the nod at blindside.
Croft wasn’t even on the bench but Tigers boss Richard Cockerill explained it was not an injury issue, but rather a lack of match fitness that saw the 29-year-old omitted.
“Tom was fit and not selected [for Bath],” Cockerill said.
“He needs to play as he has only played five games in two years. His non-selection against Bath was just about fitness as in he has not played [enough].”
Croft’s injury woes have seen him absent from the international stage since the 2013 Six Nations, and it seems unlikely he will feature in this year’s edition of the tournament.
Skipper Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood are established as the first choice flankers, with James Haskell among those challenging for a back row spot.
And while Croft has been regularly selected by Stuart Lancaster when fit, he will need to be playing regularly for Leicester if he is going to make Lancaster’s World Cup squad.