The Waratahs' chances of winning a maiden Super Rugby title have received a major boost, with skipper Phil Waugh cleared to play against the Crusaders on Friday night.
Waugh, who was expected to be sidelined for at least three months with a bicep injury suffered in the win over the Reds, will instead play through the pain barrier for the remainder of the campaign.
Scans conducted on Monday morning confirmed the veteran suffered significant ligament damage to his right bicep during his try-saving tackle on Reds winger Digby Ioane. But while it was originally feared the hard-headed skipper would require surgery to repair the injury, team medical staff are confident the 30-year-old won't do any further damage by playing on.
"It's actually better than I thought, I pulled up this morning with not much pain and the strength is really good so we're just progressing with training tomorrow and hopefully I'll be right for Friday night," Waugh said.
"I had the MRI and saw the specialist and at this stage we're going to go with the conservative approach and train tomorrow and hopefully it pulls up okay after that.
"There's significant damage to the tendon so the prognosis is as expected but the treatments probably just a little bit different to what we first thought."