Graham Rowntree still vividly recalls the painful Sunday morning when his World Cup dream was shattered, and admits to this day: "You can't prepare yourself for a disappointment like that.''
Almost 12 months since that setback, since his Leicester team-mate Martin Johnson lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy, Rowntree is now back in an England jersey for a 46th Test-match appearance.
New England coach Andy Robinson has rewarded the 33-year-old prop's consistent club form with a starting place against Canada at Twickenham on Saturday.
And it is rich reward for a player who has never let England down during a nine-year international career.
Only lock Danny Grewcock of Robinson's first team selection has won more caps than Rowntree.
"It's brilliant to be back,'' he said. "If I had 200 caps, I would still be delighted to hear my name read out, I really mean that.''
Rowntree has not represented his country since a World Cup warm-up game against France in Marseille during August 2003, and subsequent events are still etched on his mind.
"It was the weekend of England's final warm-up game (against France at Twickenham).
I played in Marseille the previous Saturday against France and we lost, and for the return leg, I wasn't involved,'' he added.
"Those who weren't in the match-day 22 could go home, and Clive (Woodward) said he would be ringing everyone on Sunday morning, whether they would be going to the World Cup or not.
"Clive said if it was bad news, he would be ringing those people first.
I was laying in bed at 9am, and the phone went. I thought, 'great'.
"Yes, I was down, and you can't prepare yourself for a disappointment like that, but it was a long time ago now.
"What more can you do? You go back to your club and throw yourself into it there.
"But there is only so much wallowing you can do - you've got to get on with things.
"I watched every England game of the World Cup, avidly.
To be honest, I had pretty mixed feelings leading into the final, I was thinking 'how am I going to feel if they go and win the bloody thing without me?'
"But come the World Cup final weekend, I had worked it all out in my mind, and I was quite emotional when Martin lifted the trophy.
"I watched the final at home with my wife, then went off with Leicester and played Rotherham at Millmoor in the afternoon.''
Rowntree has done the rounds of international rugby, featuring during the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, and he also toured South Africa with the 1997 British and Irish Lions.