WORCESTER Warriors’ flanker Sam Lewis looks set to return to the side this Saturday for the visit of Sale Sharks at Sixways, just nine weeks after shoulder surgery.

Back in February the Welshman suffered a grade four tear in his acromioclavicular joint during the Leicester Tigers defeat and was told he would sit out the next three months.

Three weeks earlier than planned, he is now fit and ready for selection against Sale, who are perhaps not the ideal team to face on your first game back.

Lewis, however, is just happy to be playing again.

“It’s been nice to be back out there with a boys after a couple of weeks out,” said Lewis.

“This season has been frustrating for me but just happy to be back. Injuries are part of the game, all you can do is be professional about it and try and return to full fitness as soon as possible. The medical team have been fantastic and I am grateful for them to get be able to get me out there a little bit sooner.

“You know what Sale bring. They’re a big physical side and like to carry hard so we have to front up. It will be a big challenge regardless but hopefully we can turn a few heads and put a few smiles back on faces.”

The 30-year-old from Swansea has only played 150 minutes of rugby this season and has had to sit and watch most of what has been a tortuous past 12 months for Worcester on the field.

“It’s been tough for the fans but we are doing what we can,” he added.

“It’s been pretty difficult to sit and watch but I have been here many years now and been with a lot of the boys and I am fully confident they can turn it around. We just need to get that win under our belt.

“We have spoken a lot about defending as a unit, which we haven’t done of late, so that’s been a big work on this week.”

Lewis is just five appearances away from earning his 100th Warriors cap and all being well, he could reach the milestone before the end of the season.

“It would be brilliant, to get those five more caps,” he admitted.

“I haven’t been close to something like this before and it is in the back of my mind. If I can get that then it would be brilliant and a really proud moment for me.”

Should he get there, it will be head coach Jonathan Thomas that hands him accolade, a man Lewis has always had a lot of time for.

The pair rubbed shoulders 11 years ago when they played for the Ospreys and the flanker admits Thomas was someone he looked up to growing up.

“He is a very knowledgeable guy and that always helps in rugby,” added Lewis.

“I’ve worked with him before at the Ospreys as a player. He was one of the guys I looked up to growing up and his accolades and achievements as a player tell you why.

“He is one of the new coaches around at the moment. I think that’s the way the game is going, there seems to be a move towards bringing new and young coaches through at the top level and I think he’s an example of that, which is brilliant.”