Wales prop Gethin Jenkins has declared himself back to full fitness and ready to take on England and Argentina in the Rugby World Cup warm-up matches at the Millennium Stadium next month.
Jenkins underwent surgery on his foot earlier this year and had originally targeted an end-of-season comeback for Cardiff Blues. The 76-times capped front row missed his return-to-play date to continue his rehabilitation but, despite the disappointment of an extended period on the sidelines, he insists he will be much better for it at the World Cup.
"Coming back from injury is a frustrating time for any player and you have to tough it out mentally and keep telling yourself you will be back," said Jenkins. "But, if there is ever a good time to make your comeback, it's probably now. The World Cup is just around the corner and in hindsight, although it was difficult being out, it was all part of the plan really, that I would time my return and be getting back into it now."
Jenkins missed Wales' 2011 Six Nations campaign and the summer fixture against the Barbarians in June and looked on as the likes of Paul James (Ospreys) and Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs) impressed in the front row.
He is now on a mission to regain match fitness in order to impress the Wales coaches enough to be selected in their 30-man World Cup squad.
"I've done all the fitness work necessary and it will stand me in good stead, but now I have to get back in the side," added Jenkins.
"Paul and Craig have both done well and it will be a good thing for the squad if I can create some more competition for that starting spot.
"Those are the guys in possession and it's up to the likes of myself and Adam (Jones) to wrestle the shirts from them now.
"All the jerseys are up for grabs, which is going to make those games against England and Argentina all the more interesting.
"Obviously, I'll be looking to get some game time and I just have to hope I do enough to impress the coaches if I get my chance, but the first priority now is to get back on the training camp next week in Poland."