Sione Kalamafoni says he is ready to put his hand up for selection after making his return from a three-match suspension.
The Leicester Tigers back-rower missed the last three rounds of Premiership action following a red card against Sale at the start of March, but was back in action in a Leicester shirt on Saturday in the final fixture of the Premiership Shield season away to Northampton Wanderers.
“It was good to be back out there,” Kalamafoni said. “Obviously the three games turned into five weeks, but it was good to be out there running around and involved with the team again.
“I was a little bit nervous at first, but I’m always nervous going into a game, even though I’ve been doing it for a long time. It means you’re on the spot and ready for the game.
“If you’re not nervous heading into a rugby match…then you need to see a doctor.”
“I’ve really enjoyed the way the boys have played.”Sione Kalamafoni
Kalamafoni came on for the final 20 minutes of Shield action at Franklin’s Gardens and despite seeing his side finish up 38-28 at full-time, he was keen to focus on the positives of a competition that has seen a number of young players make their Leicester debuts.
“While we unfortunately didn’t come up with the win, it was good to see the young boys in their development coming through from the Academy,” he continued.
“It was a first experience for me to play with them, and instead of calling them by their name you’re saying ‘hey mate, give me the ball!’ – it’s a bit different and a bit weird, but means you get to know them as well.”
As for the senior side, Kalamafoni had been forced to watch from the sidelines as Guy Thompson put in a man of the match display at Newcastle in the No8 shirt that the Tongan international had worn for 29 consecutive starts up to and including the match away to Sale.
But he affirmed seeing a strong team performance was more important than any selection headaches that head coach Geordan Murphy may now have for the final three matches of the Gallagher Premiership season.
“I’ve really enjoyed the way the boys have played,” Kalamafoni added. “For me, it doesn’t matter who’s playing and who’s not playing.
“I’m just happy that the team have performed really well, especially Thommo with a couple of tries and the way he played up at Newcastle.
“Those will be big boots for me to fill when I get back, but hopefully I can put my hand up for selection and manage to help out in any way that I can.”
Tigers welcome Bristol Bears to Welford Road this Saturday, April 27 (3.00pm), with tickets still available from £25 for adults or £10 for junior supporters.
Secure your place in person at Welford Road, by phone on 0116 319 8888 (option 2), or online using the link below.