PAUL Hodgson insists that – thanks to his concussion-enforced extended pre-season – he is now in the best shape of his life.

The former England scrum-half joined Warriors from London Irish over the summer but missed the opening games of Worcester’s season as he fully shook off the effects of three bouts of concussion last year.

The 30-year-old number nine adm-itted he feared for his future in the sport at one stage but believes his extended break from playing has cleared up the problem completely.

If his match-winning tackle on Sale’s Will Addison at the end of Worcester’s 23-16 Aviva Premiership victory over the Sharks is anything to go by, Hodgson is clearly not worried to put his head where it hurts.

He said: “I am probably feeling in the best shape I’ve ever been in because I was able to do a serious amount of work in a long, long pre-season. I only missed five games at the start of the season but that was another five weeks when I could work on my conditioning, so I feel sharp and fresh.”

On his vital intervention against Sale, Hodgson insisted he was simply doing his job as part of a well-drilled defensive unit.

He added: “I pride myself on my defence, it’s a part of the game I enjoy and I like to be part of Phil Larder’s system. I’ve been exceptionally impressed with his whole philosophy of defence and I’m just another cog in it.

“I’ve played at Sixways many times as part of an away team but to be a home player was exceptional – the fans were very loud and it is a great stadium for that.

“The experience was fantastic and I’m looking forward to being part of it more and more.”