NSW Waratahs and Wallabies prop Angus Bell is looking to channel his World Cup and injury frustrations into the 2024 season.
The Wallabies have returned to their Super Rugby clubs earlier than ever after their group-stage exit from the World Cup.
Despite his excellent tournament, the 23-year-old Bell feels like he owes the Waratahs.
He has almost played more games for the Wallabies (28) than the Waratahs (36), with his 2023 campaign lasting only 20 minutes.
"It's been about a year and six months since I've last actually trained at the 'Tahs or done anything here at the Waratahs so it's been a long time and I'm looking forward to playing with some of my best mates, obviously growing up playing with a lot of these lads," he told reporters.
"So it's really exciting times and obviously we've got a really exciting group of boys so we're hoping to put it all together and get the performances that the Australian public and also all the NSW fans want."
Centre Lalakai Foketi admits the pain from the early exit still 'lingers', looking to channel it positively.
"You see people you haven't seen for a while and they want to hear about it and talk about it and it was hard because not by fault or not by effort that we didn't go as well as we wanted and it was poor World Cup from us," he explained.
"It's probably still lingering a little bit, but it's good we get out there today and we get to run around with the boys.
"It's a new year now so you can't change the past, so we sort of have to move past that and I guess for both me and La the best thing we can do is put our best foot forward for the Tahs," Bell added.
"Hopefully we get the opportunity to play for the Wallabies again, both me & La. We'd love to and obviously we'll do everything in our power to do so, but we have a job with the Waratahs first and the good thing is that there is opportunities there for Australian rugby to redeem a little bit of that respect back that we lost at the World Cup.
"In professional sport, you can't hang on to things for too long. I guess things move into the past and we've just got to focus on the future, so we're excited for next year."
The Waratahs entered 2023 with lofty expectations but once again fell short, going down in the quarter-finals.
"We want to get further and we're not really talking about how far we can go," Foketi added.
"We’re kind of just putting things in place at training and trying to work harder because obviously what we've done in the last two years hasn't come up to scratch. The coaching staff here have been working really hard and you can tell. When we came back, the boys were in good nick and training hard, so I'm excited for what 2024 has in store for us."