Tom Johnson (left) featured in England's win over Wales that secured the triple crown
Back row Tom Johnson admits his summer exploits with England have left him lagging behind his Exeter Chiefs team-mates in pre-season.
Johnson, who came off the bench in this year's RBS 6 Nations victories over Wales and Italy, spent the early part of his summer touring New Zealand with Stuart Lancaster's team and consequently reported for pre-season training with Exeter a month after the majority of his club-mates.
And with the new season opener at Premiership new-boys London Welsh on the horizon, Johnson knows he must spend the next five weeks putting in the hard yards.
"It was a really enjoyable summer, especially going to New Zealand and facing up to the Haka and the All Blacks," Johnson told the Western Morning News.
"It was a real experience to do that and tackle all that culture and what that represents to the New Zealand people.
"Now it's nice to be back with the boys in Exeter and getting down to the hard work. Right now they're flying, so I've got a bit of catching up to do."
"We've got London Welsh first up and we know how tough that will be for us. That's why it's crucial we get ourselves into the best shape possible now."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.