Courtney Lawes admits it was ‘pretty gutting’ to miss out on Saints’ Premiership title push last season.
The England ace missed the final months of the previous campaign after picking up a shin injury, which also hampered his efforts in the Six Nations.
It meant Saints went into the end-of-season play-offs without one of their most influential players.
And with a number of other stars missing, including the likes of Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley, they fell short, losing 25-23 at Harlequins.
Lawes found it tough to watch on from the stands, feeling helpless as his side were unable to secure the major silverware they crave.
He said: “It was very frustrating watching all the games at the end of the season. It’s always hard when you’re injured and the boys are playing well and getting to semi-finals and such.
“It’s pretty gutting, but at the same time you want the boys to do well and you’ve got to cheer them on and do what you can to help them out.”
After finally shaking off the shin problem, Lawes was struck down by an elbow injury, which required surgery, during pre-season.
He watched on as Saints shone against the likes of Leinster and Edinburgh and the 23-year-old, who started his first game since February 18, against Worcester last weekend, admits that his side’s form made him even more determined to get back on the field.
“The pre-season games were really good,” said Lawes. “The boys were playing such exciting rugby and I just couldn’t wait to get back in and playing that sort of rugby with them so it helped me get back as quick as I could.”