Northampton flanker Calum Clark has praised his club and team-mates after making his return to action from a 32-week ban last weekend.
Clark played the entire match during the Saints' 16-12 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road last weekend and put in a solid performance.
The 23-year-old made his first start since receiving his lengthy suspension for hyper-extending the elbow of Tigers hooker Rob Hawkins during the LV= Cup final in March.
After last weekend's match, against the Tigers, he took to social networking site Twitter to express his gratitude for the support he has received while serving his suspension.
"I have been to some dark places over the last 32 weeks," Clark tweeted.
"A lot of people have had their say. I'm going to take my turn.
"I am ashamed and sorry for what happened. I have taken a long, hard look in the mirror and blame nobody but myself. I have learnt a lot.
"I would like to thank my club, who stood by me, and my team-mates, who have had to carry me for such a long time.
"Today (Saturday) couldn't have been much tougher a challenge. Once in a lifetime. We did our best and lost.
Despite his team's loss Saints boss Jim Mallinder was full of praise for Clark's efforts.
"I thought he was outstanding," he told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
"To come back and play 80 minutes in such an intensive game as that was good.
"We've got no doubts about Calum in terms of where he is. He's one of our leaders. We've missed him and we're glad he's back."