Jamie Roberts looks set to return to action for the Cardiff Blues on Saturday after being named in their squad to face the Newport Gwent Dragons.
The giant centre has been dogged by persistent knee problems since November 2011, missing all of Walesâ€™ summer tests against Australia and most of the Blues European campaign.Â He did manage to play a part in all of Wales Grand Slam campaign however.
Many saw the absence of Roberts as the major difference between Wales and Australia this summer, and coach Warren Gatland will be hoping that his star man can be back to full fitness for the return clash.
Speaking ahead of his return to action, Roberts spoke of his frustration at having to sit by and watch:
“I am raring to go again and play again, it has been five and a half months, all in all, since the operation in April.”
“It has been tough missing a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster and the three summer Tests against Australia. It has been hard sitting them out but it has made me hungrier to come back and I have worked hard with the physios and conditioning staff.”
Looking further ahead, Roberts is likely to be a key man in Warren Gatlandâ€™s Lions plans this summer, particularly after his man of the series performance in 2009.
Roberts, along with Brian Oâ€™Driscoll, formed one of the most devastating Lions centre partnerships in history during the 2009 series as they routinely carved apart the South African midfield.
It seems certain that Gatland would at least like the opportunity to assess the partnership again after working so closely with the pair in â€™09.
With 44 Welsh caps and 2 for the Lions, Roberts will be one of the experienced heads this time around.
In the meantime a return to full form and fitness for Wales, and first the Blues, will be paramount. It is for those of us looking on to salivate at the prospect of another glimpse of that dizzying midfield combination.