Rory Hutchinson probably couldn't have got injured at a more frustrating time of the year.
After putting in all the hard yards during pre-season training, the Premiership Rugby 7s series and the 15-a-side matches, Hutchinson sustained a knee injury.
He was forced off in the final friendly, against Glasgow Warriors at Franklin's Gardens on August 24, missing the first few months of the new season.
And for a young player trying to make an impression on new coaches, it was far from ideal.
But, after three and a half months on the sidelines, Hutchinson finally got the chance to step back on to the Gardens turf last weekend.
He started at outside centre in the 48-14 Challenge Cup win against the Dragons and, most importantly, he came through unscathed.
"It was great to be back out on the pitch," said the skilful 22-year-old.
"There was obviously a lot of frustration around getting injured during pre-season but it's been worth the wait and it was great to be back with a win.
"We had a solid pre-season and it was nice to get a full pre-season in but there are setbacks in this game and it's just been nice to be back.
"Now I need to try to stay as fit as I can and work hard on those core skills. (Attack coach) Sam Vesty goes on about it massively and there are little things I need to keep improving.
"Hopefully I can keep working hard and putting my hand up for selection.
"It's great for the club to have a lot of competition because it pushes us all on.
"We all work hard for each other and it pushes us to get out on that pitch and play well.
"There's a lot of talent here.
"Fraser Dingwall's done very well this season, it was good to see Strachs (Fraser Strachan) get out there last weekend so we've got good competition."
It was Hutchinson's centre partner Luther Burrell who stole some of the limelight, scoring twice in a comfortable success.
Taqele Naiyaravoro also dotted down on a couple of occasions as Saints once again put the Dragons to the sword.
"It was a slow first half, not beautiful really," Hutchinson said.
"We definitely came out of the blocks in that second half but we still weren't perfect.
"It's nice to get the win and there's always stuff to improve on."
Hutchinson will now be hoping to play a part against Timisoara Saracens in Romania on Saturday.
"I know it's going to be cold!" he said.
"It will be interesting, but it's part of the job, we've got to win a game like that and we're looking forward to it.
"We need to focus on ourselves, take the performance from last weekend and we want to go out really hard and put a good performance in."