It has been a difficult 18 months for Quinn Roux, who went from becoming a regular in last year's Six Nations team to missing the World Cup, as well as a whole host of club action.
Roux has missed so much rugby, he has yet to feature in 2020, which reflects how turbulent this period has been for the Connacht lock. Having contracted a virus after the 2019 Six Nations, Roux was forced to sit out several months, which scuppered his chances of making the plane to Japan.
Then when the South African eventually returned for Connacht in September, he only lasted three months before he required surgery on a broken thumb. Roux's last appearance came against Munster on December 21, so we can safely say that he is raring to go against the same opposition this weekend.
Reflecting on the last 18 months, Roux admitted that he has endured some dark days to get back fully fit again. "I wasn't initially even picked in that (Six Nations) squad and one of the lads went down and I got brought in myself," the 29-year-old recalled.
"I put in some good performances and then in that six months leading up to the World Cup squad I had an illness and I struggled to get back in then. I missed out on that group.
"That kind of was a tough time for me. Then I got back, played some decent rugby at the start of this season and then over that Christmas period before the Six Nations I broke my thumb again. It was really frustrating but I'm just hoping I can run in a string of games now and put my hand up again and show that I can get selected on form and hopefully get involved again.
"It's a big challenge, it was a really frustrating few months injury-wise so hopefully I can put that behind me now. I feel really good, I've leaned up a bit. I'm 116 kilos now, I'm not 118 any more so I feel I can get around the park. I feel really good physically so I'm ready to go again.
"I used to play around 119. I think I lost bad weight, so I think that can just help me, I don't think that will make a big difference in the scrum really. As long as my tightheads are happy, which I'm sure they are when I'm behind them, I'm happy to go."
Connacht have plenty of competition for the second row, but with Gavin Thornbury sustaining a head injury in last Sunday's win over Ulster, Roux's return is timely.
"I think we all bring something different to the game. We all have our own little string to our bow or a combination of locks. It's good to have that competitiveness in the squad amongst the second-rows. I think there is a lot of positions in the squad at the moment that lads are competing for spots so that can only be good for us," added Roux.