Flanker Sam Warburton admitted he felt like 'a dog let off the leash' as he made his long-awaited comeback against Leicester Tigers on Friday night.
Wales captain Warburton played for 50 minutes at Welford Road as he made a successful return after five months on the sidelines.
“It’s been five months out so I’m delighted to be back– I felt like a dog let off the leash,” he smiled.
“In the dressing room I was pumped up and couldn’t wait to get back out there and make some tackles. It was great to be back out on the pitch with the Blues and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I was pleased on a personal level. The first game back is always difficult, from a timing perspective at the breakdown, but I got a turnover and some of the work in the tackle was good. My contribution in the ruck area too was pleasing, I got through some work so I’m happy.
“Credit to the fitness staff at Blues who have been working with us really hard these last few months and have made sure I’ve had the best pre-season in a long time.
“I wasn’t sure how long I would play as this game was always pencilled in to be my first back. Mark (Hammett) told me early in the week he wanted me to play 50 minutes which is good because you go hard for 40 and then empty the tank after half-time.
“It was a perfect introduction back and we take the positives as a team and I take confidence into next week.
“Nothing has ever changed for me,” he added. “I came back into pre-season on day one with the Blues, got all my kit with ‘SW’ on it and trained fully for three months.
“My first game back was always Leicester away. I always expected to watch Exeter from the stands because I wanted to make sure the shoulder was good.
“I’ve always had the mentality that I was back for this game and ready for the new season. There has been no disruption for me these last few months. I am a Cardiff Blues player and will be for the next three years.”