James Haskell was never likely to be the quietest member of the England squad but he insists he knows when joking must stop and hard work should start.
The experienced flanker is preparing to make his long-awaited international return this weekend in the third Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Haskell, 27, has not featured since last autumn's shambolic World Cup campaign after opting to play club rugby in Japan and New Zealand.
Haskell said: "I am never going to be a quiet guy sitting in the corner - that is not me, I can't resist a bit of banter. For the most part some of the boys enjoy that. But what I try to do, when it comes to training, is make sure I get the balance right."
In his absence, new head coach Stuart Lancaster revamped the squad and there was a feeling that Haskell, known as a larger-than-life character, may have been surplus to requirements.
But Lancaster has wanted his experience in his squad this summer and after injury to captain Chris Robshaw, the London Wasps-bound forward now has a chance to re-establish himself.
Haskell added: "I haven't been the perception of James Haskell, joking and larking around. I have been what I normally am, pretty sensible and serious when it comes to the training ground but in the downtime, having a coffee with the boys, then we'll have a joke and a laugh.
"I know what we are trying to achieve here. I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity and I am not going to mess it up."
Haskell suspected his opportunity might be coming as he was left on the bench during the midweek tour match against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom.
He said: "I wanted to get on - warming up is tiring but you don't get that shot of adrenalin from experiencing it. But when I didn't come on and was fit and able to participate this weekend....it was a bit of a dream come true really.
"I came here with no expectations. I didn't expect to be involved in the Test team. I came here to fit in with new England, get the mentality right off the field as well as on it. Through injury I have got the chance quicker than I thought."