England flanker Tom Croft believes he is returning to form at just the right time for club and country.
Croft was one of key players in Leicester’s surge to both the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup finals last season – form that earned him a call up to the British & Irish Lions as a replacement for Irish flanker Alan Quinlan.
This season though has not gone according to plan with a knee injury ruling out the blindside specialist for the RBS 6 Nations.
But with Croft having started the Tigers’ last three games – all victories – the 24-year-old says he is rediscovering his stride as the season enters its business end.
He said: “Prior to the injury I did not quite hit the standard I was at last season.
“I was not happy with myself after the autumn internationals – I was not where I needed to be. I can’t put it down to any one thing whether it was the Lions tour of something else.
“The injury came at a bad time but now I have got five possible games if we get to the final to get to 100per cent before the England summer tour.
“My main goal is to play as much as possible and get my lungs back. I was happy with how I played against Bath last week and I hope that can continue.”