NICK Schonert admits he is still "a little behind the pace” as he looks to regain the 5kgs he lost following a sickness bug.

It has been a rough time for the tighthead prop who recovered from an ankle problem only to come down with an illness.

Schonert was due to make his comeback from injury against Harlequins in Worcester’s last Aviva Premiership clash two weeks ago.

But the 26-year-old then found himself throwing up after picking up a nasty bug which also forced Chris Pennell to pull out of the Quins game.

“I lost about 5kgs so I am still trying to find them,” Schonert said.

“Chris saw me in the toilet throwing up and he said 'I will tell them that you must go home' and then two days later he got it.”

But Schonert is now working his way back to full fitness as he bids to nail down a place against Northampton Saints in the league a week on Saturday.

The South-African born front rower played 53 minutes of Worcester’s 24-21 defeat to Sale Sharks last Friday and hopes to feature at Quins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Sunday (3pm).

“I think my lungs would like three weeks off,” Schonert quipped.

“After 20 minutes I was looking at the youngsters saying ‘Slow down boys you don’t have to be so energetic’.

“But it was a great experience and I would like to get a few more minutes to open up the lungs.”

Schonert is expected to secure the number three shirt when Saints visit Sixways.

But he insists he is not taking anything for granted as he looks to fight off competition from Biyi Alo, Gareth Milasinovich and Simon Kerrod.

“Nothing is set in stone, there is no hierarchy,” Schonert added.

“Every player has to work for their position and I see myself having to work up the ranks again.

“I have been out for quite a substantial time, so I am a little behind the pace, but I will try to get myself back into that starting.

“There is so much depth at tighthead with Biyi, Gareth and Simon playing well, so there is healthy competition at the moment.

“I am just happy to get some game-time.”