Jon Fisher admits appearing for England at Twickenham on Saturday was the realisation of a dream.
The flanker came on during the second half of the 73-12 demolition of the Barbarians on Sunday, capping a superb first season at Saints.
Fisher has been challenging Samu Manoa, who was in the Barbarians team, for the Saints No.8 shirt since signing after a successful trial spell last summer.
The 26-year-old was ruled out for four months after suffering a foot injury in an LV= Cup win at Scarlets in November, but returned to rack up a tally of 16 appearances.
“It was a surprise (to get the call-up) but during those tough times you have to visualise these things happening,” Fisher said. “You need that inspiration to keep you going and it’s taken a lot of hard work, too.
“I have to thank everyone at the Saints, the medical team in particular – I’m sure I was a source of frustration for them a lot of the time while I was injured!
“Then to get myself back into the squad, I knew it was a case of taking my chances and I’ve continued to work hard and learn from the right people.
“The back row competition is so strong here that you need to be playing well and once you do that, there’s no better place to catch the eye than at Northampton.”
On the win against the Barbarians, Fisher said: “It was a pretty special day. It was a great game to be involved in and there was a great atmosphere surrounding the whole week.
“We were all pretty down after the Saracens game so get the call on Sunday, I wouldn’t say softened the blow, but certainly gave me something to re-focus on straight away.”
And fresh from a successful season at Saints, Fisher is now desperate to claim his first titles with the club next term.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my first season here and it has been a privilege to be a part of this team and club,” said the former London Irish player.
“But Northampton is a club that needs trophies and I was one of only a few players at the club this season who didn’t win the Premiership last year.
“That’s a real focus for me and all I can think of now is being here in a year’s time with a Premiership winners’ medal.”