England hooker Steve Thompson is determined to make the most of being at this year's World Cup in New Zealand having already retired once from the sport.
Four years ago Thompson was acting as a host for supporter groups at the World Cup in France, having quit because of what he believed to be a career-ending neck injury.
But Thompson, who played in the 2003 World Cup-winning team captained by England manager Martin Johnson, sought a second opinion and relaunched his career, with the aim of returning to international duty, at French club Brive where he had taken up a coaching role.
However, Johnson's response to Thompson's planned Test comeback was not encouraging, according to the front row.
"I think he just laughed at me," Thompson told reporters at England's training base before the squad flew to New Zealand.
"He said there was a chance if I was fit and playing well and they would have a look," added Thompson, who returned to the English game with Leeds and will next season play for Wasps following the Yorkshire club's relegation.
The 33-year-old Thompson needed to lose weight to regain match fitness, saying of his post-retirement diet: "Foie gras for breakfast with a bit of dessert wine just to wake me up!
"Steak with foie gras on top for lunch and a bit of fish at night to try to be a bit healthier. And wash it down with a couple of bottles of red wine."
Now he is on "egg white omelette, salad with chicken and fish for dinner... and not enough wine".
He added: "I do struggle with my weight and it fluctuates quite easily so I have to really work to keep it down and suddenly, when I went against that, it piled on pretty quickly."
Thompson, who started England's 20-9 win in their final warm-up match against Ireland in Dublin last weekend, said watching the team reach the 2007 World Cup final had rekindled his enthusiasm for playing rugby.
"It was completely out of my mind and, this time four years ago, I didn't miss it at all.
"It was towards the end of the World Cup that I started missing it a little bit and I went for that second opinion and the rest is history."
But Thompson, capped 68 times by England and a British and Irish Lion, said his time away had given him a better perspective on the game.
"As much as it is serious, and I love playing for England and am totally passionate about it, there are other things to life," he said.
"Hopefully that has brought me the balance and I will try to show that other balance to people as well."
Johnson emphasised the point by saying: "It is a good story...When guys are thinking it is tough and hard work, now you've got a guy who can say 'hang on it is an easy life you have got here'."
And whatever happens to England in New Zealand, former Northampton favourite Thompson is unlikely to have too many regrets.
"I am really happy with what has happened in my career. I have been blessed."
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