Lawrence Dallaglio returns to the England starting line-up for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales with the praise of coach Clive Woodward ringing in his ears.
The former England captain has struggled to make it off the unfamiliar territory of the substitutes' bench at international level following the serious knee injury which brought a premature end to his British Lions tour in Australia in 2001.
And Woodward insists the strength in adversity shown by Dallaglio during his time out of the side is testament to his inspirational character.
"I can't praise this guy loud enough," said Woodward. "To leave him out in the first place was a big call but the way he handled it was fantastic.
"t hurt him tremendously but the support he has given to captain Martin Johnson and the team has been unflinching. That's what sport is about and now he has a chance to prove me wrong. I' expecting a huge game from him at the weekend."
Dallaglio's ambition still burns brightly and he is desperate to thrust himself to the forefront of Woodward's plans for the World Cup later this year.
"I'm delighted to get the opportunity," he said. "I've tried to work harder and bide my time.
"You've just got to deal with it in the right way and I've tried to be mature. Selection is about getting the right balance for the team and you don't have to agree with being left out but you have to understand the wishes of the selectors."
Wales' acting head coach Rob Howley has given Sam Davies and Rory Thornton a boost ahead of the RBS 6 Nations by naming the uncapped Ospreys duo in his largely experienced squad for the Autumn Internationals.