Since the 2010 summer tour to Australia, Croft has barely had a minute to collect his thoughts with two Premiership campaigns bookending the World Cup in New Zealand.
Croft has established himself as England’s first-choice second row in winning 22 caps in that period but, until picking up a neck injury on 21 April, hadn’t had much chance to take a recuperative step back from the game.
The 26-year-old Leicester star certainly will now, with three months scheduled in to recover from the injury sustained in a clash with next week’s Aviva Premiership final opponents Harlequins.
And while frustrated to miss both the Quins clash, and England’s summer tour to South Africa, Croft is only concerned with the positives the complete rest will bring.
“It’s pretty frustrating especially with the time of the season we are in now,” said Croft, speaking in his role as an ambassador for SSE, who are giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to watch England against the Barbarians on Sunday May 27 at Twickenham.
“It’s coming up to the finals and the summer tours but it’s something you have to get on with. It’s part and parcel of the game being injured but the timing is not ideal.
“I am still in a neck brace at the moment and I’ll have another couple of weeks with that. It gives me a summer to fully recover though, and you pick up a fair amount of bumps and bruises over a season so I’ll get three months to get my body back into shape and sort my neck out.
“Once I’m out of my brace I’ll be able to build it up over the summer. It means that there won’t really be a proper summer holiday or break for me, but it’s what you have to do in this situation to get over an injury.
“I’ll have to get my fitness back to where it was before the injury. After that will be able to review where I am and see exactly when I can get back into training again. Hopefully I’ll be able to join the boys again for pre-season.”
While Croft’s last taste of a Quins showdown was a chastening personal experience, for the Tigers at large it was anything but – coming back from an early deficit to run out 43-33 winners.
And despite admitting memories of that clash are still painful Croft is adamant his teammates can re-produce last month’s heroics at Twickenham next Saturday.
“Winning this has been our aim since the start of the season, we were written off by a lot of people but there is still a job to do,” Croft added.
“We know that Quins will produce what they have done all season, they finished top of the table playing well all season and deserve to be in that final.
“It’s a massive game for the club but at the moment everyone is quite relaxed.
“Obviously we played them a few weeks ago it was a great game until I was stretchered off.
“The biggest thing I learned from that game though is to make sure I get my neck in the right place.
“I got a bit of teasing from the lads in the days just afterwards when it didn’t seem like it was going to be a serious one.
“Then when they found out I’d broken it there was a little less joking.”
Community rugby clubs in England are encouraged to register on www.sserugby.com to start benefiting from the support and resources on offer, including ‘£10k worth of SSE Energy credits’ and ‘The Chance to Watch England Train for the Barbarians game on Sunday 27th May!’
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