Huw Bennett believes he is finally over the injury problems which have blighted his fledgling career - and hopes a strong season with the Ospreys will help him regain his place in the Wales squad.
The 22-year-old hooker, whose promising displays earned him a place at the last World Cup, has recovered from an operation on his troublesome neck - a similar injury to that which sidelined Wales veteran Robin McBryde earlier this week.
And now the youngster is aiming to give Wales boss Mike Ruddock a nudge by putting in the performances on a consistent basis for the Ospreys as they begin the defence of their Celtic League title.
Bennett told the Western Mail: ''This is going to be a massive year for me and the team. With the addition of the Powergen Cup there is going to be a lot of games so we are really going to have use the squad system.
''I had a hernia and then an operation to remove a bulging disc in my neck last year which pretty much ruled out the whole of last season. It was so frustrating, but we've seen this week with Robin how important it is for a hooker to get the problem sorted out properly.
''I used the break to get into good shape and finish my degree so now I'm fresh and totally focused on playing well for the Ospreys. Playing for Wales is not even in my mind. The Ospreys have really stood by me over the last year and I want to start putting in some performances for them.
''It's going to be a very exciting season at the Ospreys with everything happening on and off the field and we have something to live up to with a title to defend.''
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.