GIANTS prop Paul Jackson admits he will have an extra spring in his step when he returns to pre-season training next month.
The 28-year-old yesterday played a major role as he marked his international debut by helping Scotland beat Wales 21-14 in a World Cup qualifier in Bridgend.
It was also a good day for Jackson's Huddersfield teammate Eorl Crabtree, who was again in the England starting line-up as they overpowered Tonga 40-18 in the Federation Shield at the Twickenham Stoop.
That result was largely expected.
But Scotland beating the Welsh to move closer to a place in the World Cup in Australia in 2008 was something of a shock - and delighted Jackson.
"Being a part of an international set-up is absolutely fantastic," said Jackson, who started against the Welsh and played for over an hour.
"I've never done it before, and I can't wait to play Wales in Glasgow next season when a win would guarantee us a place in the World Cup in Australia.
"Yesterday's match was very tough and physical, but I got stuck into their forwards and felt I went OK.
"And, although I played for most of the game, I felt sharp and fresh.
"I've been back doing my pre-season weights work for three weeks now and I'm sure that helped.
"This experience has definitely given me a real lift and I now can't wait to get back into pre-season training at the Giants."
Although Scotland emerged victorious, they had to secure the win the hard way.
Hosts Wales let slip a 14-6 lead as Jackson and his men ran in three second-half tries to secure the victory.
Scores from Richard Johnson, Adam Hughes and Lee Briers appeared to have put Wales firmly in the driving seat.
But tries from Wade Liddell, Danny Brough, Jamie Benn and Mick Nanyn sealed a stunning Scotland success.
Man-of-the-match Brough also added a crucial drop goal.
The return in Scotland is in November next year, although the runner-up will have another chance to qualify for the World Cup through the repechage.
Meanwhile, Crabtree's England stayed on course for a place in the Federation Shield final with an impressive seven-try win. Leeds centre Ashley Gibson scored twice, while Jamie Rooney, Rob Purdham, Mark Calderwood, Chris Ashton and Lee Smith also went over.
England raced into an early 10-0 lead with Paul Cooke setting up half-back partner Rooney and man-of-the-match Brett Ferres doing the same for Gibson.
Richard Fa'aoso and Taniela Tuiaki kept their side in contention with solo tries, both converted by former London Broncos stand-off Feleti Mateo, before half-time.
But Gibson added his second try after 29 minutes, courtesy of neat handling from Matt Diskin and David Hodgson, and Rooney kicked his second conversion.
England stretched their advantage just after the break when Purdham pounced on a defensive mistake to score.
Winger Calderwood, who scored two tries in last weekend's win over France, raced onto a delicate kick by Ferres for the fifth try.
Solomon Haumono delighted Tongan followers with a consolation try.
But England had the final say through Ashton and Smith, with Rooney taking his goal tally to six. A win over Samoa next weekend will seal England a final spot.