A calf injury then spelt the end of his participation in the autumn internationals and to add illness to injury Flutey has only recently recovered from a flu bug that saw him lose a few kilograms in bodyweight.
Now though he is fit and raring to lay down a marker with club side Wasps before England's opening game against Wales on February 4.
But whatever the competition for places within the Red Rose set-up, Flutey maintains that won't come at the expense of his close friendship with Hape.
He said: "We're brothers. I don't think we're opposites or anything, we've got the same passions and hobbies and he's a good friend.
"We all respect each other. As long as we put good performances out on the field, and we give it 100% against each other, we can smash each other up on the field.
"But at the end of the game we'll respect each other for the way we've played and shake hands and be mates.
"From my point of view getting the opportunity to play for England has been absolutely amazing.
"I played for England and then thought there's an opportunity here to go and represent the British and Irish Lions and that was my goal."
It is not just the England No.12 shirt that is up for grabs in the Six Nations.
Injuries to Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft and Lewis Moody mean three places in the pack are available while a resurgent Jonny Wilkinson is putting the pressure on fly-half Toby Flood.
But that Flutey, 30, argues is a sign of a healthy squad and has inspired him to make a quicker-than-expected return to full fitness after a year of injury hell.
He said: "Mentally you've got to get up for that, but I know that I've put in the work and I know my fitness levels very well.
"It's now the second half of the year and hopefully I can get lots of game-time and get my game fitness back after being out for eight or so weeks and then a couple of weeks with flu.
"Once I do that I'll be 100 per cent confident. I've got a couple of really big games for Wasps coming up, so great to get game time in those, and then hopefully I can put loads of pressure on the England coaches to be selected for the some of the Six Nations games. That's my focus.
"There's lots of competition within the squad and from my point of view that's great because that's going to make me get out there and want to play at my best, whether it's here for Wasps or for England.
"If I was selected to play in that first test then I would be 100% confident that I could get out there and play to the team's pedigree, and show everyone how I can play."