Ian Evans described his return to Wales colours against Australia as 'the greatest day of my life' after three years of injury hell.
The Ospreys lock started Saturday's 24-18 Millennium Stadium defeat having last played for Wales in November 2008.
He was then struck down by a debilitating list of injuries - notably knee, chest and ankle problems - and the 27-year-old endured many physically-gruelling and mentally-punishing days on a long road back to Test status.
Evans, though, refused to throw in the towel, and that persistence has paid off, gaining a Wales recall just two months before this season's RBS 6 Nations campaign swings into action.
The Johannesburg-born forward said: "I was happy with my performance. It was emotional for me, but I tried to keep focused on the game.
"It was probably the greatest day of my life coming back after three long years and proving to myself I could do it and to other people who doubted me.
"They were not pretty times, but people stuck by me and I can't thank them enough, really.
"I have had tremendous support from the Ospreys - the physiotherapy department and the coaching department - and from my family.
"This was a big mountain for me to climb. You only get one chance and you have got to take it. Hopefully, I have done that and put my hand up a little bit."
Wales played 41 Tests between Evans' 16th and 17th international appearances, and he admitted: "The pace of the game has moved on, and with how clinical it now is.
"If you make a mistake and the opposition get the ball, they are more or less getting points from it. It drains your energy.
"I am only 27, and yet I felt I quite old in that (Wales) team. It is very exciting when you see these young players coming in.
"They are so physically big, so powerful and fast, it's unbelievable. I think the future is bright and exciting."
Evans' comeback inevitably paled in comparison with Shane Williams' emotional Wales farewell and he joined a long list of players and coaches in saluting a memorable Test match career.
"Shane is one of the few people that can change a game by creating things out of nothing. He is special," Evans added.
"What he has done for Welsh rugby is fantastic. How many youngsters have probably got into rugby because they have seen him side-stepping? He deserves every accolade he gets and hats off to him."