Courtney Lawes has backed Alex Corbisiero’s decision to take a year away from rugby.
And the England lock believes Corbisiero will come back a better player for it.
The 27-year-old prop announced his decision on Sunday, stressing he needs to step away from the sport to recharge his batteries when his Saints contract ends in the summer.
Corbisiero has recently had knee surgery and has yet to play a game for Saints this season, though he hopes to get back in time to represent the club again before his sabbatical.
Lawes feels his team-mate has made the right decision and has commended his courage.
“I think he needs the break,” Lawes said.
“It is brave, but he’s the kind of person who can come back from it.
“It certainly doesn’t mean he’s washed up or he’s gone or anything like that.
“He needs a break, he’s had a lot of trouble with his knees and he’ll go away and come back a stronger person and a stronger player.
“I’m sure he’ll come back better.”
Lawes, like many professional rugby players, has had his own injury problems, with the intensity of the modern game taking its toll on his body.
And the 26-year-old, who returned from a knee injury in the defeat at Racing 92 last weekend, admits that taking a break from the game is what some stars need.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself a proper break because you never really get one in rugby,” said Lawes, who has previously admitted that both of his shoulders were ‘pretty knackered’ at one stage last season.
“Even when you take six months off, you can come back and feel exactly the same so you need to get some proper time out.
“It’s a tough sport and you need to look after yourself.”