Saracens flanker Will Fraser admits he will be fulfilling a childhood dream against Munster at Thomond Park on Friday night.
For the 24-year-old, the past 18 months have been the toughest of his career.
In April 2013, after cementing his place in the Saracens team, Fraser tore the tendon off the bone in his left shoulder — missing both of the club’s defeats in the Heineken Cup semi-final and the Aviva Premiership final.
Six months later, Fraser made his comeback. But after just six matches the flanker was once again on the treatment table, this time with a compound foot injury.
That setback in December 2013 kept Fraser out until the start of this season, but he is now beginning to rekindle the form that had him tipped as a future England international.
“These are the games I missed last year. It has been good for me to get a full pre-season under my belt and the first few games,” said Fraser.
“It is nice to be back involved in these big occasions. Running out at Allianz Park (against Clermont) and then Thomond Park — it sends shivers down your spine.
“Growing up watching what was the Heineken Cup, Thomond Park was always somewhere I was dying to play at.
“Regardless of Munster’s current form that place is an incredibly hard place to go. But as it is Munster are going pretty well at the moment.
“They have got some brilliant players and they are a great team, with a lot of pride and passion behind them.
“It will be a very tough place to go and get a result, but we’re confident that if we have a good training week we can get a result.”
Saracens may have got their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 30-23 win over Clermont Auvergne at Allianz Park, but Fraser insists he and his team-mates are under no illusions how tough topping Pool 1 will be.
“It is an incredibly hard pool. You’ve got two of the most hostile environments in the competition, in terms of Clermont and Munster away,” Fraser added.
“We have then got Sale as our double-header, who are playing very well at the moment and that’ll be a very tough ask.
“The way the competition has been set up now, not that there were necessarily any easy games before, but this time round you have to beat the best teams in Europe in order to win it.
“It is going to be hard work but that is what every club wants, that’s why you want to be part of this competition. I can’t wait to run out at Thomond Park because we lost last time we went two years ago, so it will be nice to try and turn that around.”
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