Ian Evans says the Ospreys hold the key to him regaining his place in the Wales set up.
The 25-year-old has endured a nightmare over the past few seasons as the flow of a promising international career has been disrupted by three separate setbacks.
A shoulder injury in December 2006 saw him sidelined for 10 months shortly after making his Wales debut that same summer, while knee damage cost him 11 months out of the game from November 2008.
Evans finally returned to Magners League action with substitute performances against Glasgow and Edinburgh in late September and early October of 2009 but injury struck once more as he attempted to build his match fitness in the Principality Premiership.
Damage to a chest muscle while playing for Swansea led to another two months out of action as good fortune continued to evade the South-African born second row.
Evans pulled on an Ospreys shirt once again in the convincing New Year’s Day win over the Blues, featuring for 18 minutes as a second-half replacement.
And now the 6’8” Evans is hoping continued game time with the Liberty Stadium outfit will help him add to his 16 Welsh caps, sooner or later.
"I just need to get myself back in the Ospreys side and see where I go from there. I’m not expecting miracles, and it could be a slow progression to return to the Wales squad, but that’s where I want to be,” Evans told the South Wales Evening Post.
"Realistically, when I injured my shoulder it took me six months to get going again. It just depends on how my game is going and my confidence…but if you are in a winning team, your confidence will be up there.
”I don’t expect to figure in the Six Nations if I am not playing for the Ospreys. I need to be playing some good rugby.
”I suppose it is possible to be involved in the Six Nations but I have to be featuring in the Ospreys’ upcoming games because game-time is everything when it comes to developing form.”
Evans readily admits that not starting a fixture for the past 15 months has been hard to take and that, at times, staying positive was harder said than done.
But he hopes that his streak of bad luck is now behind him and that he can push on with both club and country.
With the Ospreys riding high in the Magners League and a summer tour of New Zealand on the horizon for Wales, all will not be lost if Evans doesn’t return to form quickly enough to secure a Six Nations place under Warren Gatland.
”The injuries have been frustrating, but the reality is that rugby is a physical and intense game and bumps happen. It has just been my bad luck that I have picked up three,” added Evans.
”It has been a long road back and it was gutting to tear my pectoral muscle playing for Swansea in October.
"I must have done something to someone. Rugby is a physical game, and you can pick up one or two bad injuries, but I’ve had three now. Hopefully, I‘ve had all my share of bumps already.
”You have to try to stay positive. The problems have been bad, but people before me have bounced back from serious injuries.
“One thing I can say is that I have had support from my family and from the Ospreys. There have been dark moments but they have helped me through the bad times.
”Fingers crossed that I stay injury-free, but I think my best is still to come.”