Peter Stringer can’t wait for this weekend, the dawn of a new RaboDirect PRO12 season and the latest chapter in his decorated rugby career.
After a six-month sojourn across the Irish sea with firstly Saracens and later Newcastle Falcons, Stringer has returned to Munster.
New season, new coaching set-up, but Stringer’s oozes the same drive and ambition as old.
Having fallen down the pecking order at Munster – behind Conor Murray and Tomas O’Leary under Tony McGahan’s watch – Stringer was determined to get game time.
And so a loan move to Saracens was arranged. Stringer explained: “I must say it is good to be back. This is home. I wanted to give it another go here. Going away, you get confidence by playing week in and week out and a realisation you can still play the game at the highest level. I still have goals and ambitions to play at the highest level here and this is the place you want to be.
“It was a great six months personally. It was all about game time for me really and the opportunity of playing somewhere else which I haven’t had over the years.
“First and foremost it was about getting some time on the pitch and getting a run. Thankfully, I played most weeks when I was over there. As a rugby player I still have ambitions to play and game and love the game. That was what it was all about and thoroughly enjoyed my time over there.
“There is not really a big difference between Sarries and Munster. You often wonder, I suppose, being here for so long playing with one team, you wonder how it is elsewhere.
“But when it comes down to it, it’s still the same game out on the pitch.
“Things maybe done a small bit differently in the workings of training and the surroundings of the club, but when you get out on the pitch, it’s pretty much the same.
“The mindset is the same going out on the pitch, so from that point of view it was an easy transition.
“My initial loan period was for three months. Saracens had one or two injuries in the scrum-half position and that was the initial term they had set.
“That was enough for me to get some game-time and then Newcastle came looking. It was just about getting more game time and I took the decision to go up there. Thankfully, I played five or six games up there, getting the full 80 minutes. It was enjoyable.
“I took the decision when I wasn’t getting game-time here at Munster. It was about playing and I still feel the same way. I want to be playing, wherever that may be.”