Tucked away amid all of the success stories to come out of England's Six Nations campaign was Geoff Parling. He spoke with PR's Adam Kyriacou.
Parling played just one minute of rugby in 2010/11 before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Quins, the team he will face on Saturday.
Since that day it has been long and arduous road back to full fitness that has all been worth it by the mood the father of a nine-month old gave off.
Parling, while not getting ahead of himself, looks secure of a seat on the plane to South Africa after putting in authoritative performances, highlighted by his line-out expertise and hunger that saw him overtake Tom Palmer in the pecking order to join Mouritz Botha in England's second-row line-up.
"Playing two minutes of rugby would have been a bonus last season so just playing now is great," he revealed, while dealing with his son, Henry.
"Obviously the way things went, I've just been happy to play each game as it comes. Playing this year has been a bonus as I try to stay injury free.
"I'm looking forward now and glad that I'm at a club where I'm in a position to challenge for silverware, with plenty to play for until the end of the Aviva Premiership season."
Juggling things is something Parling has shown he is capable of and is more than one handy attribute he has. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the lock confessed to being something of a 'nerd' due to his watching of tapes of his opponents and calling 'emergency line-out meetings' at Leicester. That drive and attention to detail has been a marker of what new England has been about and something Parling says is refreshing to be part of.
"The coaches created a good environment with players who hadn't been given that shot before but were champing at the bit to prove themselves," said a clearly thriving Parling.
"The results early doors helped us as well as I think the first win in Scotland, which could have been a really tricky game, was a big factor as we got off to a solid start in the campaign and got that ball rolling. We also tried to get the media on our side, so it was a good feel."
England's successful campaign of four victories from five games was above and beyond the expectations many had set the young and new-look side, as the coaching trio of Stuart Lancaster, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell complimented each other superbly. However, the latter has recently decided to stay with Saracens instead of moving into the international scene on a full-time basis, which has left several players disappointed.
"I do think it's a loss as Andy is a very good coach, and the blend of those three coaches worked well together," added Parling, who is 28-years-old and in the form of his life.
"At the same time it opens up an opportunity for someone else who could be another world class coach that fits in well with the squad. So yes, when I heard that news I was a little disappointed as I think he is a quality coach but at the same time we have to move on."
Move on England will and to the testing environment that is South Africa for a three-Test series with the Springboks that will also see them enjoy a couple of midweek fixtures, against SA Barbarians South in Kimberley and then SA Barbarians North in Potchefstroom. What was apparent with Parling is that he is fully aware of just how tough a task it will be to back up their Six Nations 2012 form now that they have raised their international bar.
"There is not going to many places tougher to tour is there? If selected, we'd be under no illusions of the task but I also think that before the Six Nations the expectations were fairly low with the fresh squad put together whereas now this is going to be another step up in South Africa's back yard. As a squad though, we have got to keep going and show that the Six Nations wasn't a one-off," explained a player who is knowledgeable of his rivals.
"That would be awesome yeah (chuckles)," when asked whether he would enjoy facing Victor Matfield if press rumours of the former Bok forward's playing return materialise.
"I am sure he's passed on his knowledge to the likes of Andries Bekker and the other locks. I remember seeing Bekker up close and he's a man-mountain!"
That challenge is for another day for Parling, however, as this weekend will be all about club matters as the Tigers take on Harlequins at the Stoop. There is little doubt that Quins have been England's stand-out domestic team this campaign, after backing up a superb start and staying at the summit. Both Leicester and Harlequins will meet fresh from victories and a week off before those confidence-boosting wins over Saints and Wasps respectively.
"Our form in the Premiership has been good ever since the lads came back from the World Cup," added Parling, who has seen the annual lift in training at the Welford Road outfit.
"That win against Northampton at Franklin's Gardens over the weekend was massive as I think it was 2006 when we last managed that. Now we have pretty much cemented our place in the top four and we've really got to try and push on and get that home semi-final. Obviously we are going to Quins full of confidence but we also know that we are playing a team that is top of the league. I think a lot of people thought that when Quins got there at the start of the season that they'd probably drop off at some point because they didn't lose as many players as other teams, but they have kept on going which is a sign of a good team."
What has always been noticeable at Leicester is that they somehow find another gear for the home straight and that their squad depth comes to the fore, as we have seen when late withdrawals aren't a hindrance as men like Scott Hamilton or Matt Smith step into the XV.
"If you just look around at the squad that is out there each day there is a lot of quality. For example at the weekend we took off Dan Cole and brought on Martin Castrogiovanni, which not many teams are able to do. So to know that we can do that is a boost," he continued.
"I think we have probably got a bit more big-game experience than the other teams but that doesn't always work out as we saw with last year's final. Everyone expects Leicester to win some silverware, which is good pressure I guess, and therefore the heat is on us to do it."
Geoff Parling is a Mizuno rugby ambassador and currently wears the Morelia boots. For more information visit www.facebook.com/mizunorugby