Leigh Halfpenny is in line to make his long-awaited Toulon debut this weekend after being named in the squad to face Toulouse in the Top 14.
The Lions and Wales idol is set to give Warren Gatland a huge fitness boost ahead of the autumn internationals by returning to action for the first time in seven months.
Halfpenny hasn’t played a match since dislocating his right shoulder while making a try-stopping tackle on Luther Burrell against England at Twickenham in March.
He hasn’t even set foot on the field of play for his new club Toulon because of a groin injury, but returned to training last week and could make his debut for the European champions on Sunday.
“The injury has been frustrating and it has taken a lot of rehab to get it right,” said Halfpenny.
“But we have got to a point now where I am ready to play and it’s what I want to do.
“I can’t wait on Sunday to put the jersey on and I am very excited about playing my first game for Toulon.
The Wales full back added: “Every time you take to the field you are under pressure.
“But I also see that as a privilege to take to the field with all the boys here at Toulon.”
Halfpenny would then have further games against the Scarlets and Ulster in Europe’s Rugby Champions Cup, plus a French Championship clash with Grenoble to prove his fitness and form to Gatland in time for the Millennium Stadium November opener against Australia.
With the World Cup less than a year away, Gatland is unlikely to take any chances with his prolific points-scorer.